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Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law by Cheryl Saunders, Thomas Fleiner, Mark Tushnet

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12Federalism and autonomy

Lidija R Basta Fleiner and Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens

12.1 Introduction

Federal systems characteristically seek to establish constitutional structures reconciling self-rule and shared rule (Elazar, 5). Given the avowed objective of such systems to protect and promote self-rule, federalism inevitably relates to autonomy and its beneficiaries. Yet, there are limits to an approach linking federalism and autonomy:

  • (1) Context – The various institutional designs of federal systems address problems faced by particular political communities stemming from distinct political and legal traditions.
  • (2) Descriptive v normative – Federalism scholarship is either descriptive (analytical) or normative. This chapter will ...

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