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Constitutionalism and Identity in Eastern Europe: Uncovering Philosophical Fragments

  • Stephen Deets (a1)

Extract

Despite the euphoria surrounding the 1989 revolutions, over the past 15 years voices have warned that resurgent nationalism may bring “democracy in dark times” (Isaacs, 1998; Tismaneanu, 1998; Ramet, 1997). Reflecting this fear, a stream of articles has asserted that nationalism in the East is different from the more civic nationalism of the West (Vujacic, 1996; Bunce, 2001; Schöpflin, 2003). If true, these sentiments should be reflected in the constitutions, documents that define the polity and the foundational values of the state in addition to creating the basic institutional order. Debates over religious references in the European Union constitution and the focus on constitutional change by Albanian forces in Macedonia in 2000 serve as reminders of the centrality of constitutions in contention over identity. However, as all constitutions in East Central Europe and the Balkans set out a democratic structure informed by a tangle of national and liberal ideas, they cannot be neatly divided between those which are nationalist and those which are civic, between those which respect minority rights and those which do not. In fact, what is striking about the constitutions is how they combine ideas of liberal individualism, strong democracy, and pluralism.

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Constitutionalism and Identity in Eastern Europe: Uncovering Philosophical Fragments

  • Stephen Deets (a1)

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