9: Constitutional identity and constitutionalism beyond the nation state
Since the end of the Cold War, the world has witnessed a remarkable trend towards constitutionalism and constitutional democracy, within and beyond nation states.
New constitutions and transitions to constitutional democracy have proliferated in various parts of the world, such as Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. Fundamental rights are increasingly internationalized, thanks to the interaction between international bodies protecting human rights, on the one hand, and domestic jurisdictions, on the other.
The European Union, while not yet a full-fledged federal democracy, has allowed for construction of a transnational constitutional model tailored to the special requirements of constitutionalism in the EU.
At the same time, however, a new efflorescence of ethnic feeling and nationalist aspirations has emerged worldwide. This “ethnic revival” which has destabilizing consequences on the world order, not only challenges liberal and cosmopolitan projects of universal democracy, but also exposes the fragility of traditional constitutional democracy and the difficulties in reconciling political theories on citizenship and nationalism.
This workshop is aimed at exploring the connections between these two parallel and seemingly antithetical contemporary trends, one of them pointing to convergence while the other fosters divergence.
Issues to be addressed include the following:
- How can a prevailing constitutional regime be justified?
- What ought to be constitutionalized? Is there a universal answer to this question for all those committed to constitutionalism or, rather, are all plausible answers necessarily contextdependent?
- Are conceptions of citizenship based on ethnicity, history or geography viable in pluralistic and heterogeneous polities?
- Can citizenship be detached from the boundaries of the nation-state and linked directly to commitment to the very ideals of constitutionalism?