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The Politics of Military Occupation$
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Peter M. R. Stirk

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748636716

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748636716.001.0001

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(p.227) Conclusion
The Politics of Military Occupation

Peter M. R. Stirk

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter offers some final reflections on the difficulties inherent in trying to understand military occupation as a political phenomenon and the nature of the challenges it poses to those engaged in it. Military occupation pushes sovereignty to the point at which its existence and meaning are precarious. All that is left is a hollow shell whose significance lies in a negative fact: the occupier is not sovereign. The desperation to deny this lies behind the frenetic efforts of ousted elites to demonstrate the efficacy of their legitimacy, and behind calls for the occupier to return sovereignty to the people, as if it were something in the occupier's possession. The structure of military government also matters because it can be used to flatten indigenous institutions, to substantially undermine the very potential of the society subject to occupation to exist as a political entity.

Keywords:   political phenomenon, military occupation, sovereignty, military occupier, military government

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