Unpopular sovereignty?

Popular sovereignty was presented in modern constitutional discourse as a mode of collective action. It was supposedly manifest in the power to constitute, control and dismantle governments. Important strands of contemporary constitutional theory, notably legal constitutionalism and deliberative democracy, have taken leave of this tradition. They have severed the connection between sovereignty and action. What remains of popular sovereignty is fundamental rights and values, or dispersed networks of deliberation. This is based on the idea that the place of power is ‘empty’, and is legitimised on the principle of including ‘All-Affected-Interests’. The very concept of sovereignty thus becomes unpopular. This contribution aims to re-establish the link between popular sovereignty and action by examining sovereignty’s emancipatory telos, its majoritarian mode of operation and its dependence on political citizenship.