Past Event

Forms of Pluralism and Democratic Constitutionalism

June 17, 2016
1:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Columbia Global Centers | Paris, 4 rue de Chevreuse, 75006

This two-day conference, which takes place at Sciences Po and Reid Hall, will discuss four plausible ways to manage pluralism in a ‘post-sovereign’ world: federalism, status group pluralism, corporate group autonomy and subsidiarity. The following questions animate our inquiry: what forms of legally instituted organized pluralism are compatible with democratic constitutionalism?  What principles should structure the allocation of jurisdiction and representation in a democratic polity and/or transnationally? Does transnational corporate economic power and the private legal ordering that goes with it undermine democratic sovereignty and the public regulation of economic particularism? 

Our aim is to engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue on the best match between the core principles of democratic constitutionalism (equal liberty, voice, equal status and justice for all individuals) and the various strategies for including, integrating and managing pluralism that have become salient again in the 21st century.  These include version of federalism, political secularism or multiple establishment of religions, status group legal pluralism for minorities (religious, ethnic and linguistic), revival of the corporate form as a mode of governance and the subsidiarity principle as an allegedly flexible multi-level governance alternative to federalism and to state sovereignty. We include both theoretical and empirical contributions as well as relevant and comparative case studies (South Africa, Israel, India, Belgium, Canada) and we will discuss a variety of ways of addressing the four alternatives.

Day 1, Friday, June 17,  Sciences Po CERI (Grande Salle), 56 rue Jacob, 75006

Welcome & Introduction 1.00 pm

1. Empire to Federation? 1.30 - 3.30 pm
Chair: Astrid von Busekist, Sciences Po

• Emmanuelle Saada, Columbia University, “Legal Pluralism and the Constitution of the French Imperial Republic”.

• Fred Cooper, New York University, “Federation, Confederation, Territorial State: Debating a Post-imperial Future in French West Africa, 1945-1960”.

• Joshua Simon, Columbia University "José Marti's Immanent Critique of American Imperialism”.

• Gary Wilder, CUNY, “Decolonization and Postnational Democracy”

2. Territorial and Non-Territorial Federations 4.00 – 6.00 pm
Chair: Andrew Arato, The New School

• Patrick Macklem University of Toronto, “Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian State: The Prospects of a Postcolonial Constitutional Pluralism”.

• Andreas Kalyvas, The New School, “Constituent Power and the Federal Imaginary: Popular Sovereignty beyond the State”.

• Jeff Miley, Cambridge, “Federacy crafted by national and international actors. Syria, Iraq, Turkey"


Day 2, Saturday June 18,  Columbia Global Centers | Paris, Reid Hall, 4 rue de Chevreuse, 75006

3. Federation, Decentralization, or Subsidiarity 10.00 -12.00 pm
Chair: Astrid von Busekist, Sciences Po

• Yishai Blank, Tel Aviv University, “Religious and Secular Federalism in Israel”.

• Nadia Urbinati, Columbia University, “Subsidiarity and the Dilemma of the
liberal state.”

• Franz Mayer, University of Bielefeld, “Constitutional Pluralism and European

4. Nomos Communities, Status Group Pluralism and Democratic Constitutionalism, 2.00 -4.00 pm
Chair: Jean Cohen, Columbia University

• Michael Karayanni, Tel Aviv University, “Multiculturalism as Covering: The Case of Greek-Orthodox Jurisdiction over the Palestinian-Arab Laity in Israel”.

• Courtney Jung, University of Toronto, “The Politics of Horizontal Inequality: Indigenous opposition to Wind Energy Development in Mexico”.

• Christophe Jaffrelot, Sciences Po, “The Questioning of Indian Secularism”.

5. Pluralism, Corporate Power and Sovereignty: 4.15 - 6.15 pm
Chair: Andrew Arato, The New School

• Katharina Pistor, Columbia University, "Legal Particularism: The Origins of Corporate Power”.

• Horatia Muir Watt, Sciences Po, "Global legal pluralism: a private international law perspective”.

• Tsilly Dagan, Bar Ilan University, “Tax Competition and the Unbundling of Sovereignty”.

Closing Remarks: Andrew Arato, The New School 6.15 – 6.30


Presented by Sciences Po and Columbia University.