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Law, Politics, and the Constitution

New Perspectives from Legal and Political Theory

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Edited By Antonia Geisler, Michael Hein and Siri Hummel

The fourth Yearbook of the Central and Eastern European Forum of Young Legal, Political and Social Theorists reassesses central concepts of modern constitutionalism between the poles of law and politics: separation of powers, constitutional review, and constitutional rights and obligations. Fourteen legal scholars and political scientists from the region contribute to interrelated debates in both disciplines. Two questions are particularly raised: How can the aforementioned concepts be understood? And: Which role do they play in current national and supra-national institutions? With regard to the second question, an essential part of the chapters focuses on current developments within the European Union and in post-socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe.
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Paul Ricœur’s Thought as the Basis for a Political Theory of the European Union

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Marcin Pieniążek

Abstract

This chapter introduces the political theory of the European Union, based upon Paul Ricœur’s definition of ethical aspiration – ‘the intention of achieving “a good life” with and for another man in just institutions.’ This definition constitutes the basis for a conception of interrelations of a man with the community, discussed as interrelations between a citizen, democratic society and institutions of the European Union. It is the core basis of an undertaken argumentation which starts with the micro-scale of the entity whose characteristic feature is the intention of a good life; it then goes on to the ‘meso’ level, i.e. to an interpersonal relationship in broad terms; finally the argumentation aims to describe the macro-scale of just political institutions. Consequently, the chapter presents a homogeneous conception of social structures, interpersonal relationships and democracy, related to the concept of the subject (ipse), as defined by Ricœur in his work Soi-même comme un autre.

Today, the question about the social and political future of the European Union takes various forms in the context of uncertainty, caused by a recurring wave of economic upheaval. Current complications arise the need for a new political theory embracing the whole range of European players: institutions, states, small countries, businesses, and individual citizens. Such restored theoretical reflection could breathe a new spirit into EU structures in which the particularism of strong players prevails over the spirit of community. The following chapter constitutes an attempt to...

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