A discussion of sovereignty which seeks to clarify different movements in and against sovereignty by means of distinguishing secession from, succession to and supercession of sovereignty. These three moments are aligned with three theoretical reflections on sovereignty developed from the work of Bataille, Caillois and Baudrillard; the three theorists are in turn aligned with three literary depictions of the devil, namely Satan, drawn from Milton’s Paradise Lost, Lucifer, drawn from Byron’s Cain and Mephostopholis, drawn from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. By aligning in turn Satan-Bataille-Secession, Lucifer-Caillois-Succession and Mephostophilis-Baudrillard-Supercession, certain new possibilities for thinking with and against sovereignty are proposed, highlighting the vanities of sovereignty in the double sense of conceit and futility.

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