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Chapter 13 The Limits of Territorial/NationalFederalism as a Social Technology of Governance "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong" H. L. Mencken Introduction One of the central features of modernity is the existence of a plurality of conversations that practical persons hope to be able to reconcile and to articulate in some loose and comprehensive manner through some common "mode of conversation" (Tully 1994). In this quest, federalism has come to be regarded as a social technology that has the capacity to build such means of articulation. Indeed, the very variegated fabric of Canada explains why federalism was seized upon early in Canadian history as a workable social technology, and why much of Canadian political philosophy is dedicated to debating these issues. In the recent past, there has been an extraordinary growth in diversity of all sorts in our modern societies, and the plurality of conversations has made most societies truly polyphonic. Moreover, the coefficient of diversity has deepened significantly. This has considerably heightened the degree of difficulty of the reconciliation task, and eliminated the possibility of simply "papering over the differences" (Kymlicka 1998). In the face of such deep diversity, traditional federalism does not appear to be as powerful an instrument as many had hoped. It has mainly developed along territorial lines and become fundamentally associated witha form of geographical essentialism that is "politically naive, constitutionally undesirable and 283 The New Geo-Governance theoretically irrelevant" (Carter 1998:55). Even when federalism has attempted to inject a "national" flavour into such geographical essentialism, or when it has tried to transform itself into a "multination federalism", the results have been less than successful because diversity has by now acquired such polymorphous dimensions that these simple categorizations—territory or nation—have failed to grapple with deep diversity in any significantway. This chapter proceeds in four phases. It examines (1) the new challenges faced by pluralist societies facing deep diversity; (2) the process through which deep diversity generates a process of diffraction that challenges the viability of unitary forms of governance; (3) the limits of conventional (territorial/national) federalism in enabling societies to deal with the many types of conflict generated by deep diversity; and (4) the directions in which federalism as social technology may have to develop in order to adjust to these new realities. Pluralism and deep diversity It hasbecome quite evident over the past few decades that most modern societies have become much more diverse. Globalization has triggered a significant increase in mobility, which has transformed most societies into communities that are diffracted in a multiplicity of ways. Growing polyethnicity and multiculturality, and the emergence of various "identity groups" (Piore 1995) have, inparticular,raised significant questions aboutthe capacityof the "practices of modern representative government" (Tully 2001:49) to ensure the emergence and sustenance of a legitimate order. In some sense, so-called "territorial" and "national" societies have become more akin to "global and transversal arenas" where only loose, fluid and partial regimes may hope to prevail. This deeper diversity—in which the plurality of ways of belonging is acknowledged and accepted (Taylor 1993:183)—has led to a new maniere de voir that has accompanied (more or less fitfully) the development of the deep diversity in modern societies. Pluralism is the name of the new manierede voir. it is an attitude, a philosophy. Deep diversity connotes the stark new reality of diffraction. Deep diversity calls for a pluralistic governance approach, and a pluralistic outlook welcomes deep diversity. Yetthere is no necessary fit between these two "realities". Pluralism may be more or less extreme, and diversity may be more or less deep. (a) Pluralism There is no corpus stating clearly what a pluralist society is, and what its institutions and laws should be. 284 The Limits of Territorial/National Federalism The notion of open society has been developed and expounded by Bergson and Popper (Bergson 1934; Popper 1942). It connotes societies that have escaped the dominance of "wholistic" values and have managed to put the individual at the centre of the stage. This has translated intothe following traits for open societies: a private sphere for the individual, freedom within that sphere, the principle of private property, un etat de droit to regulate the relationships between individuals and states, and a restricted power for the State, so that it never allows the society to be closed (Reszler 1990). In such a context, the challenge is to find ways to eliminate the "unfreedoms" (Sen 1999...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780776617176
Related ISBN
9780776605944
MARC Record
OCLC
243584697
Pages
300
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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