The concept of sovereignty has evolved over time. As ‘Umi points out, it originates from the idea that a nationʻs independence and legitimacy derived from the divine authority of its monarch. But over time sovereignty has come to be understood in the international community as deriving from the will of the people to constitute an independent state.
Parallel to this development is the emergence of the concept of universal human rights. There is now a general consensus in the international community that in certain circumstances, considerations of human rights supersede the sovereignty of any particular nation and allow for international intervention in a sovereign country to enforce human rights.
A practical expression of the co-evolving ideas of sovereignty and human rights is the emergence of “self-determination” as an universal human right of all peoples. In theory this means that a people sharing a particular history, culture, territory, social organization and identity as a nation can freely determine their own political status.
But as Hardt and Negri point out the very nature of sovereignty has transcended the nation-state and constitutes a global network form of power and control: Empire. This has both facilitated and been countered by network forms of resistance, such as the Arab Spring and Occupy movements