The prospect that technological and social innovation in the use of communication and information technologies are bringing about an end to sovereignty has been a source of optimism, pessimism and ambivalence. It has captured the popular imagination and it can be found in the anxieties of national leaders about the mingling and collision of cultures and cultural products within and across their borders, and about growing awareness that environmental threats bow to no flag. According to much of this discourse, national governments are becoming increasingly powerless in their battles against real or imagined plights of cultural imperialism (and sub‐imperialism, that is, cultural imperialism within states) and capital mobility, as well as in their efforts to effectively exercise political control through surveillance and censorship. The end of sovereignty is a theme in political discussions about new pressures brought on by global regimes of trade and investment, and by unprecedented levels of global criminal networks for drug trafficking, money laundering and trade in human flesh. Social movements and non‐governmental organizations (NGOs) have reflected this by recognizing the need to match the scale of the problems they confront with appropriately scaled collective action. This article examines the discourse about the end of sovereignty and therise of new institutions of global governance. Particular emphasis is given to how advancements in the means of communication have produced the ambivalent outcomes of threatening the democratic governance of sovereign states, and serving as foundations for the assertion of democratic rights and popular sovereignty on a global scale.