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Sovereignty, Territory and Fluidity: Lessons from Hoganas

Alexandra R. Harrington

Global Institute for Health and Human Rights; Albany Law School

December 30, 2009

Throughout its history, debate has swirled around the impact of the European Union on sovereignty, territorial control, and state impact. Typically, such debates have centered on the impacts of these issues on member states and member populations. Indeed, these debates – and related debates – are still very much alive in legal and political circles today.

However, little attention has been paid to the impact of the European Union on sovereignty, territorial control, and state impact in areas other than member states. A recent decision by Hoganas, a town in Sweden, suggests that more attention should be paid to such impacts. Sweden is not a part of the European Union’s Eurozone and, as such, does not use or accept the Euro as a state currency. This is national legal policy. Hoganas has an economy which is heavily dependent upon tourism, especially tourism from states which are part of the European Union and which use the Euro. In an effort to protest the Swedish legal position and to increase its tourism trade, Hoganas had declared that it will accept the Euro as a valid means of payment within its borders.

This paper will address the legal issues raised by Hoganas’ actions as they relate to the concept of territory and sovereignty in modern international law. The paper will argue that, more than just an act of defiance or financial pragmatism, Hoganas exemplifies a sense of territorial fluidity under which small political units may elect to take their own course of action, even against their own state. The cultivation of this fluidity raises important questions for law and also for society in general in terms of its impact on the concept of belonging and statehood.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 13

Keywords: international law, territory, international economic law

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Date posted: December 31, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Harrington, Alexandra R., Sovereignty, Territory and Fluidity: Lessons from Hoganas (December 30, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1529865 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1529865

Contact Information

Alexandra R. Harrington (Contact Author)
Global Institute for Health and Human Rights ( email )
1400 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12222
United States
Albany Law School ( email )
80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States
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