Jean L. Cohen

in Political Concepts

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2017 | ISBN: 9780823276684
Published online May 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780823277285 | DOI:

Series: Idiom Inventing Writing Theory FUP


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This chapter argues that federation has to be retrieved and reconceived as a concept because ever since the sovereign state won out against its competitors in Europe, it has been captured by and studied through the lens of the modern statist paradigm, that is, as a type of state structure. It rethinks the concept of federation as a type of union of states and peoples, a type of constitutional polity that is not itself a state. Reworking the concept of federation may allow us to construct the appropriate political referent of these processes, and thus to address the legitimacy problematic of regional and global “governance” in creative ways. The concept of a federal union of states (and peoples) involves a way of making the external internal, and allows one to conceive a political structure that enables both self-rule and shared rule, autonomy and participation of discrete (even “sovereign”) political entities within an overall polity under its public constitutional law whose legal and political orders are pluralistic rather than monistic, heterarchical rather than hierarchical.

Keywords: political concept; political integration; federation; global governance

Chapter.  5693 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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