The Federal Vision

Edited by Kalypso Nicolaidis and Robert Howse

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199245000
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599996 | DOI:
The Federal Vision

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This book is about the complex and changing relationship between levels of governance in the US and the European Union. On the basis of a transatlantic dialogue between scholars concerned about modes of governance on both sides, it is a collective attempt at analysing the ramifications of the legitimacy crisis in these multi‐layered democracies, and possible remedies to this. Starting from a focus on the current policy debates over ‘devolution’ and ‘subsidiarity’, the book engages the reader into the broader tension of comparative federalism. Its authors believe that in spite of the fundamental differences between them, both the EU and the USA are in the process of re‐defining a federal vision for the twenty‐first century. The book is a contribution to the study of federalism and European integration, and seeks to bridge the divide between the two. It also bridges the traditional divide between technical, legal or regulatory discussions of federal governance and philosophical debates over questions of belonging and multiple identities. It is a multi‐disciplinary project, bringing together historians, political scientists and theorists, legal scholars, sociologists and political economists (more than 20 authors are involved), and includes both innovative analysis and prescriptions on how to reshape the federal contract in the USA and the EU. Included are introductions to the history of federalism in the USA and the EU, the current debates over devolution and subsidiarity, the legal framework of federalism and theories of regulatory federalism, as well as innovative approaches to the application of network analysis, principal‐agent models, institutionalist analysis, and political theories of citizenship to the federal context. The introduction and conclusion by the editors draws out cross‐cutting themes and lessons from the thinking together of the EU and USA experiences, and suggest how a ‘federal vision’ could be freed from the hierarchical paradigm of the ‘federal state’ and articulated around concepts of mutual tolerance and empowerment. The seventeen chapters are arranged in five sections: I. Articulating the Federal Vision (two chapters)—views of federalism in its USA and EU versions; II. Levels of Governance in the USA and the European Union: Facts and Diagnosis (four chapters)—an overview of the history and current state of federalism in the USA and EU; III. Legal and Regulatory Instruments of Federal Governance (three chapters); IV. Federalism, Legitimacy, and Governance: Models for Understanding (four chapters); V. Federalism, Legitimacy, and Identity (four chapters)—a discussion of the deeper roots of legitimacy in federal systems; there is also an appendix, which discusses the basic principles for the allocation of competence in the USA and EU.

Keywords: allocation of competence; citizenship; devolution; European integration; European Union; federal governance; federal systems; federalism; governance; history; identity; institutionalist analysis; legal instruments; legitimacy; multi‐layered democracies; network analysis; principal‐agent models; regulatory federalism; regulatory instruments; subsidiarity; USA

Book.  556 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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