What does it mean for a people to be sovereign? In an age of Brexit and Catalonia, Orbán and Trump, it seems timely to return to the once exceptional and presently paradigmatic concept of popular sovereignty, the principle positing that, to be legitimate, political authority must rest with the people. Who constitutes ‘the people’? By what criteria? How and when should the people, appear in political life? Through which institutions? How, and by whom, should their expressed will be ascertained, judged, and taken into account?
Ira Katznelson is Professor of Political Science and History at Columbia University, New York, and, this academic year, Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at the University of Cambridge. He is the Vice Chair of the IWM Academic Advisory Board.
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