Historical Social Research

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Rüdiger Graf: Claiming Sovereignty in the Oil Crisis “Project Independence” and Global Interdependence in the United States, 1973/74. [Abstract]

Understanding sovereignty as a claim and not a property, the article scrutinizes how the US government under Nixon countered the challenge that emerged from the oil embargo and oil price increases in 1973/74. Using a distinction made by Stephen D. Krasner, it holds that the embargo challenged US international sovereignty by establishing the limits of its interdependence sovereignty, which was supposed to undermine its domestic sovereignty. The article examines how the Nixon administration tried to both maintain and demonstrate its sovereignty by institutional reorganization, the development of state energy expertise, direct communication with the public, and diplomatic negotiations with both producing and fellow consuming countries. Thus, it looks at the politics of sovereignty under the conditions of a highly interdependent globalized economy, modern mass communication, and the rising importance of expert knowledge in political decision-making.

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