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MERC presents: Richard Bellamy

341 Eggers Hall

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The Liberty of the Post-Moderns? Market and Civic Freedom within the EU Taking its cue from Benjamin's Constant's famous essay, this paper uses the case of EU citizenship to explore how far ancient, civic, freedom can be combined with modern, market, freedom. Many commentators have, in different ways, argued that the forces promoting European integration call for a new form of post-national citizenship that either builds civic freedom on the basis of the liberties of the moderns or does away with the need for it altogether. These arguments are disputed. Constant perceptively raised a number of problems with this analysis, while ignoring - or being ignorant of - a number of others. As he noted, ancient liberty corrects various pathologies and lacunas of modern liberty, but he overlooked the degree to which its survival rested on the continuing importance of certain pre-modern forms of social solidarity in modern times. Those seeking new forms of post-modern citizenship tend to ignore one or other or both these points. This paper concludes by arguing that the only practical way of combining ancient and modern liberty within the EU is to view it as a particularly intense form of international cooperation between democratic states rather than as a supranational organization that transcends its component parts. 


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