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European Constitutionalism

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives


Alexandre Dupeyrix and Gérard Raulet

The deep economic crisis that Europe has been facing for several years can be seen as both a cause and a consequence of the political indecision with which the European Community or European Union has been living for so long now. The end-goal of this unique political project has never been clarified. While its objective – to guarantee peace, security, justice and wealth – was certainly explicit from the start and has been repeated in the various treaties underlying the Community or Union, the institutional and political means necessary to attain these goals have so far remained undetermined. In these times of turmoil, this lack of clarity turns out to be a latent defect within the EU.
The issue of European constitutionalism paradigmatically illustrates the conceptual, political and legal difficulties that confront us when we try to define the EU and imagine its possible developments and transformations. It emphasizes one of the paradoxes of the European project: it is unable to develop without constitutionalizing the European legal framework but also unable to find the appropriate manner in which to do so, or gain the support of the European peoples. These difficulties are caused by a variety of historical, conceptual and legal factors, which the present volume attempts to identify and discuss.
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On European Multiculturalism (Patrice Canivez)



The starting point of this analysis is Charles Taylor’s distinction between multiculturalism and interculturalism. The distinction refers to the Canadian context; it reflects the contrast between Anglophone and Francophone Canada. In an article published in Philosophy and Social Criticism,1 however, Taylor clarifies the concept of interculturalism and gives it a wider scope, explaining why this concept applies to European countries. I will first discuss this theory (I), pointing out that if the concept of interculturalism is suitable for each or most European countries, it does not apply to the European Union (EU) as such. Considered as a whole, the EU is a multicultural entity. I will then inquire into the specificity of European multiculturalism (II). Such multiculturalism is closely related to the political structure of the EU, which leads me to discuss Habermas’ understanding of Europe’s constitutional problems (III). It seems that there is a shift in Habermas’ position on this matter, witness his current insistence on the concept of transnational democracy (in Zur Verfassung Europas),2 as opposed to that of a postnational polity (in his writings on the postnationale Konstellation).3 Finally, I shall suggest that Habermas’ position would benefit from the use of the concept of interculturalism as defined by Taylor.

Charles Taylor rejects the opposition that is usually made between multiculturalism and socio-political integration. On the one hand, he criticizes the idea that multiculturalism encourages people, especially ← 127 | 128 → immigrants, to retreat into closed cultural communities and thus leads...

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