Unpopular Sovereignty?

Popular sovereignty was presented in modern constitutional discourse as a mode of collective action. It was supposedly manifest in the power to create, control and dismantle the constitution of governments. Important strands of contemporary constitutional theory, notably legal constitutionalism and deliberative democrac, have taken leave of this tradition. They have severed the connection between sovereignty and action. What remains of popular sovereignty are dispersed networks of deliberation and the principle of 'all affected interests', underscored by Lefort's idea of the 'empty place of power'. The very concept of sovereignty has become 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 citizenship.