Sunday, January 18, 2009

CFP: Theories of federalism

European Consortium of Political Research

5th ECPR General Conference, Potsdam
10 - 12 September, 2009

Section Title: International Political Theory
Panel Title: Theories of federalism

Name: Nenad Stojanovic
Institution: Universität Zürich & Université catholique de Louvain


Name: Helder De Schutter
Institution: University of Oxford

ABSTRACT - Submit a Paper to this Panel
While recent decades have witnessed a remarkable rise in empirical research on federalism, normative approaches to federalism have only very recently started to appear. Interest in these normative issues has coincided with the emergence of a normative interest in forms of self-government for nations. This manifests itself in two related areas: 1. Multinational States. Multinational states are typically confronted with claims to self-government rights by substate national and/or linguistic groups. With respect to these claims, a number of theorists have focused on federalism’s ability to provide self-government to national groups while maintaining a state-wide level of political decision-making. 2. Transnational political constellations. A number of theorists have argued that the form of democracy that is desirable above the level of the domestic state (such as for the EU and other regional multinational associations, as well as at a global level) should not be unitary but federal in nature, because federalism is better able to combine transnational decision-making with significant forms of political autonomy for national groups. Both debates ('domestic' and 'transnational' federalism) overlap extensively and tackle similar issues. The objective of the panel is to contribute to the development of normative theories of federalism in both fields. Here is a tentative guideline of questions for paper givers: - Is federalism in multinational states normatively superior to unitary forms of decision-making, or to secession? - Is federalism in the EU normatively superior to a unitary EU or to a more confederal EU? - How is federalism in transnational political contexts different from federalism in multinational domestic states? - Is federalism democratic? - Is federalism divisive? What are the sources of unity in federal political constellations? - What is the theoretical relationship between federal and consociational arrangements? - Is it unjust that in a multinational federal political constellation resources are distributed on the basis of territorial units instead of individual needs? Could/should we opt for non-territorial forms of federalism? Does federalism disadvantage non-territorial minorities? - What are the relations between the ethnocultural rights of national groups and those of immigrants?

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