Southland Travel on Our interest, however, is less in the early modern history of sovereignty than in its contemporary transformations. What is fascinating but also frustrating in Foucault's account is the way the history of sovereignty more or less stops with Rousseau and the French Revolution. With the emergence of the modern constitutional state, there appear new forms of power whose procedures and instruments are incompatible with the workings of sovereignty, namely, disciplinary power and biopower. But sovereignty itself remains essentially the same.
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Paradoxically, this unchanging quality is what gives sovereignty an ongoing role in the modern era. Speaking, for instance, of the only existing and apparently solid recourse we have against the usurpations of disciplinary mechanics, Foucault identifies a misguided tendency to return to a right that is organized around sovereignty, or that is articulated on that old principle (2003, 39). Sovereignty provides a threshold against which new forms of power emerge.
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