Deborah A. Thomas and Joseph Masco (eds)
Publication Date: 
Duke University Press
Link to Publisher Website: 
Sovereignty Unhinged
An Illustrated Primer for the Study of Present Intensities, Disavowals, and Temporal Derangements


Sovereignty Unhinged theorizes sovereignty beyond the typical understandings of action, control, and the nation-state. Rather than engaging with the geopolitical realities of the present, the contributors consider sovereignty from the perspective of how it is lived and enacted in everyday practice and how it reflects people’s aspirations for new futures. In a series of ethnographic case studies ranging from the Americas to the Middle East to South Asia, they examine the means of avoiding the political and historical capture that make one complicit with sovereign authority rather than creating the conditions of possibility to confront it. The contributors attend to the affective dimensions of these practices of world-building to illuminate the epistemological, ontological, and transnational entanglements that produce a sense of what is possible. They also trace how sovereignty is activated and deactivated over the course of a lifetime within the struggle of the everyday. In so doing, they outline how individuals create and enact forms of sovereignty that allow them to endure fast and slow forms of violence while embracing endless opportunities for building new worlds.

Editors: Deborah A. Thomas and Joseph Masco

Contributors: Deborah A. Thomas, Alex Blanchette, Yarimar Bonilla, Jessica Cattelino, Maria Elena Garcia, Akhil Gupta, Lochlann Jain, Kristen L. Simmons, Kaya Naomi Williams, Purnima Mankekar, Michael Ralph, Danilyn Rutherford, Arjun Shankar, Leniqueca A. Welcome, Jessica Winegar