Pluriversal sovereignty and the state

Imperial encounters in Sri Lanka

By Ajay Parasram

Pluriversal sovereignty and the state
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  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526148407
  • Publish Date: Nov 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: Hardcover
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4840-7
    • Pages: 216
    • Price: £85.00
    • Published Date: November 2023
    • Series: Theory for a Global Age


    This book documents the political and cosmological processes through which the idea of 'total territorial rule' came into being in the context of early- to mid-nineteenth-century Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Analysing ideas at the core of the modern international system, Pluriversal sovereignty and the state develops a decolonial theoretical framework informed by a 'pluriverse' of multiple ontologies of sovereignty to argue that the territorial state itself is an outcome of imperial globalisation.

    Anti-colonialism up to the middle of the nineteenth century was grounded in genealogies and practices of sovereignty that developed in many localities. By the second half of the century, however, the global state system and the states within it were forming through colonising and anti-colonising vectors. By focusing on the ontological conflicts that shaped the state and empire, we can rethink the birth of the British Raj and locate it in Ceylon some 50 years earlier than in India. In this way, the book makes a theoretical contribution to postcolonial and decolonial studies in globalisation and international relations by considering the ontological significance of 'total territorial rule' as it emerged historically in Ceylon.

    Through emphasising one important manifestation of modernity and coloniality - the territorial state - the book contributes to studies in the politics of ontological pluralism in sovereignty, postcolonial and decolonial international studies, and globalisation through colonial encounters.


    'Parasram lays out a thought-provoking argument - while European colonialism and European ideas fashioned a territorially grounded account of sovereignty, in that very fashioning we encounter an ontological collision between modernist-liberal accounts of sovereignty and the sovereign traditions of the colonised. When sovereignty is revalued, the consequences are devastating.'
    Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne (Dundee Law School, University of Dundee)


    Introduction: total territorial rule and the universal state
    1 Colonial contamination and the postcolonial moment
    2 Universal sovereignty: externalizing violence, relational state formation, and empire
    3 Universal gaze and pluriversal realities:
    4 Ontological collision and the Kandyan Convention 1815
    5 The coloniality of the archives
    Conclusion: pluriversal sovereignty and research


    Ajay Parasram is an Associate Professor in International Development Studies and History at Dalhousie University in Kjipuktuk, Mi'kma'ki

    Pluriversal sovereignty and the state

    By Ajay Parasram

    Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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