This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, Vol. 34, No. 1 (2010) (copyright Taylor & Francis), available online at:


As academics have become increasingly interested in globalization, scholars in many fields have turned their attention to theorizations of the state and state power. Admittedly, most criminologists have paid relatively attention to theories of the state, its function, role, or issues of sovereignty (save for Barak, 1991; Chambliss and Zatz, 1993; Friedrichs, 1992; Michalowski and Kramer, 1987; Mullins and Rothe, 2008; Rothe and Mullins, 2006, 2007, 2008). With the growing criminological interest in and focus on transnational crimes (Friedrichs, 2007), crimes of globalization (Friedrichs and Friedrichs, 2002; Rothe, Mullins, and Muzzatti, 2006; Rothe, Mullins and Sandstrom, 2008), and crime of the state (Kramer et. al., 2005; Michalowski and Kramer, 2006; Rothe and Mullins, 2008), there has been a corresponding shift in the view of the state: one in a ‘globalized’ framework. Many scholars have suggested that the state has been reduced to nothing more than a facilitator of global political, legal, and economic system. As criminologists of state crime, we find this position problematic for the conceptualization and study of governmental crime. We feel that proclaiming states and state sovereignty as eroding and/or dead is premature. In this paper we explore one area in which states seem to be voluntarily abdicating certain elements of sovereignty—the entering into of international treaties. Specifically, we examine how states protect their sovereignty through entering reservations to treaties being signed and ratified. Our findings suggest that despite greater attention in global consciousness amongst countries and economies, states intensely protect their right to self-determination while signing and ratifying treaties, compacts and other international agreements. After providing a detailed discussion of these findings, we conclude that state sovereignty is not eroding and is far from dead.