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Federalism and confederalism

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-S024-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 18, 2022, from

Article Summary

Federative arrangements involve two or more governments ruling over the same territory and population. They have been of interest to political philosophers because they challenge, or at least complicate, some fundamental political concepts like authority, sovereignty, democracy and citizenship. Like citizens in actual federations, philosophers do not treat the terms of federation as a merely technocratic matter: they believe that there are morally legitimate and illegitimate ways of, among other things, dividing powers between governments, determining the representation of the subunits (for example, provinces) within federal institutions and amending the constitution. Philosophers also see in federalism a means of securing a degree of self-determination for ethnic minorities who cannot realistically expect to have their own homogeneous nation-states.

Citing this article:
Norman, Wayne. Federalism and confederalism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-S024-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2022 Routledge.

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