Democratic Constitutionalism in India and the European Union
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Democratic Constitutionalism in India and the European Union

Comparing the Law of Democracy in Continental Polities

Edited by Philipp Dann and Arun K. Thiruvengadam

Comparing the structures and challenges of democratic constitutionalism in India and the European Union, this book explores how democracy is possible within vastly diverse societies of continental scale, and why a constitutional framework is best able to secure the ideals of collective autonomy and individual dignity. It contributes to an emerging comparative discussion on structures of power, separation of powers and a comparative law of democracy, which has long been neglected in comparative constitutional studies.
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Chapter 4: Equality and diversity in constitutional discourses

Sigrid Boysen and Aparna Chandra


Democratic constitutionalism faces a profound challenge that arises from the tension between the promise of democratic equality and the respect for diverse identities. Different frames help to conceptualize this tension between equality and difference: (1) liberal universalism guarantees individual freedom and equal rights irrespective of any distinction with regard to religion, race, language or any other particular feature of identity; (2) pluralism takes difference seriously and aims to achieve substantive equality that takes different identities into account; (3) cultural nationalism stresses the need for social unity and cohesion and aims to create a common homogeneous identity. The chapter argues that all three registers of political discourses around equality and diversity have played a role in mediating the conception and instantiation of notions of equality and diversity in Indian and EU constitutional developments. It examines the constitutional choices made (or rejected) in India and the EU in accommodating heterogeneity within a democratic system based on equality and explores the underlying rationale for these choices and their implications for constitutional discourses within the polity, the democratic possibilities within these heterogenous societies, and the specific rights and entitlements of diverse groups.

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