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Subsidiarity and Federalism: An Old Concept with Contemporary Relevance for Political Society

[journal article]

Friesen, Mark

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Abstract Historically human societies have never collectively organized, politically or socially, in any singular, standardized and/or universal way. Beginning with the Peace of Westphalia in 1647 the nation-state gradually proliferated as a legitimate manifestation of collective human organization at a global level. This proliferation has culminated in the standardization of a singular means of mobilizing and organizing human societies. The statist age that began in the 16th and 17th centuries consolidated and centralized the political power of the state. Divergent factions and regional power blocks within European states were discouraged, as politics became centralized at the national level. The proliferation of the nation-state represented the standardization of human political organization according to a single model. Given that there are, and have been, a variety of means by which humans identify and organize politically, this suggests that this universal acceptance and entrenchment of one model may be somewhat inappropriate. (author's abstract)
Keywords political theory; bourgeois society; civil society; political culture; political attitude; nation state; state formation; identity formation; federalism; multi-level-governance; political system; subsidiarity; principle of subsidiarity
Classification Political System, Constitution, Government; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Document language English
Publication Year 2005
Page/Pages p. 1-22
Journal Federal Governance, 2 (2005) 1
ISSN 1923-6158
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Basic Digital Peer Publishing Licence