chapter  8
18 Pages

Constitutional Identities in a Liquid Society

ByVito Breda

What is national identity? What is its role in constitutional democracy? At first sight, the constitutional techniques which aspire to reduce the tension between cosmopolitanism and nationalism, most notably regionalism, federalism and devolution, appear not to have done so. Nationalist and regionalist movements are rising in the UK and in Europe. They are theoretically supported by authors, such as Canovan (1996) and Taylor (1992), who argue that national identities are normatively essential to the political stability of state-centred constitutional structures. The national community fosters the process of self-identification between individuals and law. This process can only be guaranteed within an autonomous constitutional structure which protects and promotes national social characteristics. On the other hand, cosmopolitan authors such as Habermas suggest that modern constitutions should be based exclusively on constitutional patriotism (Habermas 1999a). Constitutional patriotism is a set of post-national procedural norms which Habermas distils from a rational reading of the evolution of modern constitution making.