Dialogues on Diversity and Unity in Federal Countries

Dialogues on Diversity and Unity in Federal Countries

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 80
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    Dialogues on Diversity and Unity in Federal Countries
    Book Description:

    These lively, timely, and accessible dialogues on federal systems provide the reader with highlights of each topic, serving as an entry point to the corresponding book, which offers a more in depth, comprehensive exploration of the theme. Whether you are a student or teacher of federalism, working in the field of federalism, or simply interested in the theme, these booklets are an insightful and informative analysis of the topic at hand in each of the featured countries. Booklet 7 examines the balance of diversity and unity in the following federal or federal-type countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Nigeria, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the United States of America. Contributors include Nicholas Aroney (University of Queensland, Australia), Balveer Arora (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India), Petra Bendel (Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany), Irina Busygina (Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Russia), César Colino (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain), Frank Delmartino (Institute of International and European Policy, Belgium), Hugues Dumont (Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, Belgium), Marcus Faro de Castro (Brasília University, Brazil), Assefa Fiseha (Ethiopian Civil Service College, Ethiopia), Thomas Fleiner (University of Fribourg, Switzerland), Alain-G. Gagnon (Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada), Mohammed Habib (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia), Andreas Heinemann-Grüder (University of Bonn, Germany), Maya Hertig (University of Geneva, Switzerland), John Kincaid (Lafayette College, USA), Gilberto Marcos Antonio Rodrigues (Catholic University of Santos, Brazil), Luis Moreno (Spanish National Research Council, Spain), Richard Simeon (University of Toronto, Canada), Roland Sturm (Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany), Rotimi T. Suberu (Bennington College, USA), and Sébastien Van Drooghenbroeck (Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, Belgium).

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-9084-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Comparative Reflections on Diversity and Unity in Federal Countries
    (pp. 3-9)

    Diversity seems to be one of the hottest issues in contemporary domestic and international politics. Debates about ethnic, national, linguistic, religious and economic diversity and its accommodation in viable and legitimate polities feature prominently in discussions among academics and practitioners of comparative politics, conflict resolution studies, political sociology and political theory. The recent emergence of transnational migrant networks brought about by globalization and the growing inequalities in the world economy, together with the claims by old minority groups and new social movements based on nationality, ethnicity, language or religion, pose increasing demands for old and new federal countries to achieve:...

  5. Unity and Diversity in Federal Australia
    (pp. 10-12)

    Australia is one of the oldest federations in the world. Formed in 1901 when the six British colonies of the Australian continent agreed to unite in a federal commonwealth under the Crown of Great Britain, the federation was largely modelled upon three earlier federal states: the American, the Canadian, and the Swiss. Like the United States and Canada, Australia is a nation of immigrants. Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, successive waves of first British, then European, and more recently Asian migrants, have made the country one of the most ethnically diverse in the world. However, unlike...

  6. Belgium: Unity Challenged by Diversity
    (pp. 13-15)

    Belgium is a newcomer on the scene of federal countries. Only in 1993 did the Constitution acknowledge the federal character of the institutional reforms that have fundamentally restructured the former unitary state. Structural reform, however, has been taking place since 1970 – a process that has not yet reached its final stage. Presently, Belgium is confronting a major political crisis that questions its identity as a federal country. The possibility of confederalism – a voluntary union – or, ultimately, secession, looms large in the public debate. Although the future of the country is unpredictable, Belgium remains an interesting case for...

  7. Brazil: Diversity and Unity beyond Territories
    (pp. 16-18)

    Although there are no secession claims by internal groups, and in spite of the fact that it has a single national official andde factolanguage, the Brazilian federation still faces regional socioeconomic inequalities and has continually failed to effectively promote broad implementation of minority rights.

    The 1988 Constitution was adopted after two decades of military dictatorship. The 20 years of authoritarian rule were characterized by the deployment of economic policies that propelled economic growth but did not address concerns about equality. Economic development during these years benefited the few and not the many. Moreover the decision makers of the...

  8. Unity and Diversity in Canada: A Preliminary Assessment
    (pp. 19-22)

    Balancing unity and diversity has preoccupied Canadians throughout their history and continues to do so today. Yet by international standards, Canada is considered a success. As one of the world’s oldest and most stable federations, Canada has managed to deal with several dimensions of diversity simultaneously. It is a multinational country, responding to the province of Quebec’s sense of nationhood and to Aboriginal people’s conception of themselves as First Nations. It is a highly regional country – a “federal society” – with important provincial identities, and with large regional differences in terms of demography, population, economy and wealth. It is...

  9. Federalism and the Management of Diversity in Ethiopia
    (pp. 23-25)

    Ethiopia is widely known for having successfully escaped western colonial domination. Over the last three decades, this ancient African state has gone through a wave of revolutionary changes leading to the demise of both the imperial era and the military regime of 1974 to 1991. Following the collapse of the centralized unitary era in May 1991, the country was restructured as federal, constituted by nine regional states and two autonomous cities, with a significant degree of commitment to accommodate ethno-linguistic diversity and related sub-national interests. The transition from a centralized unitary state to the current federal arrangement was brought about...

  10. Germany: The Growth of Social and Economic Diversity in a Unitary Federal System
    (pp. 26-28)

    Federalism has a long tradition in Germany. The historical roots of German federalism go back to the Holy Roman Empire and still find an echo in the organisation of the Christian churches, civil society, as well as in the persistence of regional identities. However, German society has undergone major changes in the last few decades. The Federal Republic has, after unification with what was until 1989 communist East Germany, a much more asymmetrical economic structure. The differences in the standard of living between one German region and another were minor in the Federal Republic before 1989. All ten West German...

  11. India: Diversity Unleashed and Federalised
    (pp. 29-31)

    The year was 1946. India’s approach to its diversity was being passionately debated in its newly created Constituent Assembly, which was drawing territories into a new federal democracy. In the years previous, Mahatma Gandhi had mobilized a mass movement – termed nothing more than a “geographic expression” by Winston Churchill – through his non-violent strategies. Crafting a new union was now the task at hand, and it meant grappling with India’s age-old linguistic, cultural, and religious diversities. Initially there was a reluctance to recognize diversity as an ordering principle, born of a fear of “excessive federalism.” The assertion and consolidation...

  12. Nigeria: Crafting a Compromise between the Accommodation and Integration of Diversity
    (pp. 32-35)

    Nigeria’s current constitution of 1999 proclaims the country as “one indivisible and indissoluble nation.” Yet, the federation is vexed by multiple sectarian challenges, including pressures for the extension of IslamicSharialaw in the Muslim North, a violent insurgency in the oil-bearing southern Niger Delta, internecine struggles between so-called “indigenes” and settlers within the federation’s 36 states, and a broad nation-wide clamor for constitutional reform, decentralized federalism, or enhanced recognition of the country’s multiple diversities.

    Indeed, Nigerian federalism involves a perennial struggle to craft a viable compromise between the promotion of national integration and the accommodation of sectarian identities. The...

  13. Minority Rights and the Impact of Authoritarian Regression in Russia's Federalism
    (pp. 36-39)

    Russia is ethnically and regionally very heterogeneous. Combining both ethno-federalism and territorial federalism, the country’s 89 constituent units are divided into six different types: republics, autonomous districts, one autonomous region, territorial regions, districts, and two federal cities. During the 1990s, 32 out of its then 89 constituent units, 85 today, existed as ethnic autonomies – among them 21 republics, ten autonomous districts and the Jewish autonomous region. At the beginning of the 1990s, the republics pioneered federalization in Russia by forming loose coalitions; the then president Boris Yeltsin had addressed the leaders of these republics – mainly Tatarstan and Bashkortostan...

  14. Diversity and Unity in Spain’s Estado De Las Autonomías
    (pp. 40-42)

    Some countries face a national question. Spain has rather a question of nationalities and regions. Despite ongoing tensions in the functioning of its political structure, secessionist aspirations of some of its citizens, and diversity in language, socioeconomic status, and territorial identities, the case of Spain can serve as a model for other diverse countries facing similar challenges for accommodating long-standing diversity and unity.

    Spain was established as the first modern state in Europe by means of a dynastic union of the Catholic monarchy in the second half of the 15thcentury. However, its constituent territories maintained their political existence. In...

  15. Switzerland: Success with Traditional Minorities, Challenges with New Immigrants
    (pp. 43-45)

    In his humorous depiction of Switzerland called “Switzerland for Beginners,” author George Mikes describes the Swiss Confederation as the biggest country in the world. He is referring to the Swiss phenomenon of moving to a neighbouring canton feeling like a move to another country. There is often a different language spoken, a different religion practiced, and a different culture in place. Put differently, despite a territory of only 41,290 km – less than a tenth of the size of Spain – Switzerland is a big country in terms of diversity.

    The Swiss Federation was created in 1848 after a religiously...

  16. The United States of America: Multiculturalism without Federalism
    (pp. 46-48)

    The United States is one of the world’s most diverse countries. Virtually every race, nationality, tribe, ethnic group, language, religion, and culture present in the world exists in the United States. Being the world’s third largest nation in land area (9.83 million square kilometers) and population (304 million), the United States is geographically and socio-economically diverse, with considerable life-style diversity too. Yet, American federalism is remarkably homogeneous and hostile to ethnic- or linguistic-based territories. Instead, cultural diversity (except for the cultures of America’s Aboriginal peoples, commonly referred to as “Indians” or “Native Americans”) finds its expression primarily in the private...

  17. Glossary
    (pp. 49-52)
  18. Contributors
    (pp. 53-54)
  19. Participating Experts
    (pp. 55-61)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 62-71)