Théorie politique



H19(c) - Federalism, Constitutionalism, Republicanism, and Sovereignty

Date: Jun 14 | Heure: 01:45pm to 03:15pm | Salle:

Chair/Président/Présidente : Chris Barker (The American University in Cairo)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Chris Barker (The American University in Cairo)

The Birth of the Concept of the Federal State During the Constitutional Debates in the Antebellum United States: Jan Smolenski (University of Warsaw)
Abstract: In this paper I argue that the concept of the federal state emerged during the constitutional theoretical and political struggles in antebellum United States. Contrary to the popular narrative stating that the concept emerged together with the United States Constitution as a result of the Philadelphia convention, I demonstrate that the ratification of the Constitution put to rest the debates regarding the institutional architecture of the Union and allowed the key issue of the locus of constituent power to come to the fore. Ambiguity of the justification for the Constitutions and the Union allowed diverging interpretation to emerge. Overtime, over the course of constitutional debates first between the proponents and opponents of nullification, and later between defenders of secession of the South and those who denied the legality of this move, these diverging interpretations of the United States Constitution allowed to clarify the distinction between the federal state and the confederation qua treaty organization.


Qui Aujourd’hui a Encore Besoin de la Souveraineté ? Une Contribution Républicaine pour Penser les Enjeux Constitutionnels Canadiens Contemporains: Sylvain Bérubé (Université d'Ottawa)
Abstract: Peter H. Russell avançait récemment que le fédéralisme soulage les maux de la souveraineté en permettant de vivre dans un État souverain dont la souveraineté même se révèle être divisée. (2021 : 85) Selon cette proposition, le fédéralisme, en instaurant un véritable fédéralisme de traités (treaty federalism), pourrait faire place à une reconnaissance accrue de l’autodétermination des peuples autochtones (et autres nations minoritaires). Pourtant, vu toutes les critiques formulées contre le concept de la souveraineté, incluant celle développer par Russell lui-même, qui aujourd’hui a encore besoin de la souveraineté pour penser à l’État ? Inspiré des approches du « constitutionnalisme ancien » tel que décrit par James Tully (1995), je suggère dans un premier temps que la tradition républicaine de la constitution mixte et des théories de la séparation du pouvoir offre des outils pour penser le fondement d’un État fédéral à l’extérieur du langage de la souveraineté. Dans un deuxième temps, je mettrai en dialogue les travaux de Philip Pettit (1997, 2012, 2023) et ceux d’Iris Marion Young (2005, 2006) autour de la non-domination afin d’illustrer en quoi cet idéal permet d’articuler une conception plus relationnelle du fédéralisme. L’objectif de cette communication est d’établir la forme que peut prendre une conception (néo)républicaine du fédéralisme qui, en renonçant entièrement à la catégorie de souveraineté, répond aux écueils de la proposition de Russell à l’égard de l’autodétermination des nations minoritaires.


Images of Westphalia: Beyond Absolute Sovereignty: Nancy Bertoldi (University of Toronto)
Abstract: Sovereignty is a foundational concept for international relations (IR) and provides the primary moral and institutional architecture for our contemporary world order. A central normative function of the idea of sovereignty is presumably to render imperial expansion and conquest illegitimate. Yet historically, the opposite has been true: the evolution of the modern state system has coincided with European imperial expansion, with devastating consequences for Indigenous peoples upon whom European sovereignty was forcefully imposed. This makes it urgent to uncover avenues of resistance to concepts of sovereignty that have been used to justify European imperialism, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) has emphasized. The TRC singles out the doctrines of discovery and terra nullius, given the prominent historical roles played by these ideological frames in colonization. If the goal is to repudiate all concepts of sovereignty that have facilitated imperialism, repudiating the doctrines of discovery and terra nullius can only be a start. I respond to the TRC’s call to action by problematizing the idea of absolute sovereignty that is commonly associated with Westphalia in IR. I argue that this dominant discourse about Westphalia must be replaced by an alternative narrative of sovereignty grounded in toleration and minority rights. This rival image of sovereignty can be traced back to less noticed aspects of the Westphalian settlement itself. I then consider whether this revisionist account of Westphalian sovereignty can provide the conceptual resources for theorizing Indigenous self-determination.