Democracy v. Liberalism? ‘Comprehensive Pluralism’ as an Alternative Normative Foundation for the Plurinational State in the Global

Event Name Democracy v. Liberalism? ‘Comprehensive Pluralism’ as an Alternative Normative Foundation for the Plurinational State in the Global
Start Date 11th Nov 2014 3:00pm
End Date 11th Nov 2014 5:00pm
Duration 2 hours
Description

 

Speaker: Asanga Welikala, ESRC Teaching Fellow in Public Law, Edinburgh Law School

 

Title: ‘Democracy v. Liberalism? ‘Comprehensive Pluralism’ as an Alternative Normative Foundation for the Plurinational State in the Global South’

Abstract: The ‘plurinational state’ is a constitutional model that has been developed in certain Western liberal democracies to accommodate multiple nations – and plural conceptions of nationality – within the state. While critical of many of traditional liberalism’s nostrums, and especially its atomistic focus on individualism, Western plurinational constitutionalism nevertheless derives much of its normative sustenance from rearticulated principles and values of political liberalism. This is a natural consequence of the empirical circumstances from which the model has so far been theorised, where both states and sub-state nations share historic liberal traditions. Liberalism, however, is not the dominant political tradition in many non-Western multinational polities. If the plurinational state is to serve as a model in dealing with national pluralism in such contexts, therefore, it needs, among other things, to expand its normative horizons beyond political liberalism. There are several obvious avenues of enquiry in this regard, including from the normative theory of republicanism, federalism, communitarianism, and even the analytical theory of performative nationalism. I suggest that the counterfactual ideal of ‘comprehensive pluralism’ proposed by Michel Rosenfeld might be a particularly useful way of approaching this problem. In addition to sidestepping otiose ideological debates involved in introducing ‘liberal’ ideas to non-Western contexts, when applied to the issue of national pluralism, this approach foregrounds the value of (communal) pluralism against the norm of equality (as between nations within the plurinational state), and as such it may be more susceptible to historical contextualisation as a constitutional strategy.

Chair: Tom Gerald Daly

 

Provisional details on later events in November and December 2014 can be found on the CLDG website: http://www.cldg.law.ed.ac.uk/forthcoming-events/.

Suggestions for events for next semester may be sent to the Convenor at cldg@ed.ac.uk.