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Designing EuropeComparative Lessons from the Federal Experience$
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David McKay

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199242139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199242139.001.0001

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‘Stateness’, Federalism, and Institutional Adaptation

‘Stateness’, Federalism, and Institutional Adaptation

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 ‘Stateness’, Federalism, and Institutional Adaptation
Source:
Designing Europe
Author(s):

David McKay

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199242139.003.0001

The ‘stateness’ problem, the problem associated with states winning or maintaining the allegiance of diverse populations in multinational societies, arises when a significant proportion of the population does not accept the boundaries of the state (whether constituted democratically or not) as a legitimate political unit to which they owe obedience. This book examines what lessons the European Union (EU) can learn from the experiences of those states which were originally forged out of national, ethnic, and geographic diversity, but which have subsequently been obliged to adapt constitutional and other arrangements in order to maintain the integrity of their unions. Five federations are studied — Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States — in terms of the following topics: the origins of founding constitutions, how constitutions have been adapted over time to accommodate centralist and decentralist forces, the role of political parties in this process, and the role of parties as legitimizing agents in achieving an acceptable balance of central and provincial power.

Keywords:   European Union, stateness, federations, constitutions, political parties, Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, United States

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