13 Ratio Juris 1 (2000)

handle is hein.journals/raju13 and id is 1 raw text is: 


Ratio Juris. Vol. 13 No. 1 March 2000 (1-30)


Tocqueville's Question.

The Role of a Constitution

in   the Process of Integration*


GUNTER FRANKENBERG


Abstract. Starting from the contemporary processes of fragmentation of societies
(pluralization of individual lifestyles, the increasing ethnic-cultural diversity, de-
solidarity, the melting away of political loyalties) and of dissolution of the nation
(the erosion of the monopoly of the state, economic globalization), the author examines
Tocqueville's question about what holds society together. This problem of integra-
tion is analysed in the perspective of social and legal sciences. Accordingly, the author
stresses that solutions to such a problem should come from a constitutional theory
which is open to debates and answers developing in other disciplines, thus obtaining
relevant information concerning the role of law and of constitution for integration.**


I. Which  Question?
How   can society escape its decline without a strengthening of the moral
bonds  as the political bonds loosen? (Tocqueville 1987a, 444). This question
arose for Alexis de Tocqueville with regard to America, where equality places
individuals side by side without a common   bond  holding them  together
(Tocqueville 1987b,  153). Updated  and  slightly modified, Tocqueville's
question is presently undergoing a remarkable  renaissance: What drives a
society apart? What holds it together? With more or less apocalyptic under-
tones, we are given answers  referring to progressing, radical, and extreme
processes of individualization, pluralization and de-solidarity, to the frag-
mentation of the social element and the dissolution of the nation (within
the supranational or global environment), the erosion of the monopoly of
the state (in former East Germany), the melting away of political loyalties
(everywhere), the pluralisation of individual lifestyles, and the increasing

* Translation by Nils Junge.
  Abstract by Antonino Rotolo.
D Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2000, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.

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