Introduction to Human Dignity and Democracy in Europe
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The opening chapter of the volume sets out key historical, philosophical and legal connections between human dignity and democracy and provides an overview of the political and constitutional contexts in which human dignity has emerged in Europe since 1945. The chapter highlights the significance of the original dignity promise, as a constitutional commitment to reject the authoritarianism of the past, and as the basis of a new beginning for democracy based on respect for the humanity of all. One of the central aspects of this original promise was a pledge to ensure the genuine recognition of, and respect for, a diverse range of individual identities. This sets the scene for the contributions in this volume that consider the threats posed to democracy by the rise in populist nationalist discourse. As outlined in the chapter, key to this original promise is also the pledge to establish inclusive solidarity, to ensure that those on the margins, who need support, can access it. The threats posed to the realisation of this promise, due to concerns about loss of national identity, and the politics of austerity, are themes introduced in the chapter and considered further in the collection.

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