A Research Agenda for Federalism Studies
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A Research Agenda for Federalism Studies

Edited by John Kincaid

In this forward-thinking book, fifteen leading scholars set forth cutting-edge agendas for research on significant facets of federalism, including basic theory, comparative studies, national and subnational constitutionalism, courts, self-rule and shared rule, centralization and decentralization, nationalism and diversity, conflict resolution, gender equity, and federalism challenges in Africa, Asia, and the European Union. More than 40 percent of the world’s population lives under federal arrangements, making federalism not only a major research subject but also a vital political issue worldwide.
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Chapter 3: Federalism and constitutionalism: challenges presented by dominant conceptions of the unitary state

Cheryl Saunders

Abstract

This chapter explores existing and emerging terrains for research at the intersection of federalism and constitutionalism. It divides the subject matter between the various ways in which federalism and constitutionalism are linked and the additional dimensions presented by the interpretation of federal constitutions. In each case, it argues that, while there are some good country studies, there is much more to be done to understand theory, principle and practice in comparative terms. The task is made more urgent by two factors. The first is the increased interest in multilevel government as a potential solution to a range of problems presented by the unitary state. The second is the inadequacy of contemporary understanding of how federation by disaggregation can best be designed and given effect. Research on these issues is complicated by the need to grapple comparatively with constitutional experience on a global scale.

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