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Europe after DerridaCrisis and Potentiality$
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Agnes Czajka and Bora Isyar

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748683369

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748683369.001.0001

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Europe’s Constitution for the Unborn

Europe’s Constitution for the Unborn

(p.80) Chapter 5 Europe’s Constitution for the Unborn
Europe after Derrida

Matthias Fritsch

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter draws out what Derrida’s work—concerning law, democracy, and intergenerational justice in the context of European heritage—can contribute to constitutionalism and the legal relation to future people at the national and supranational levels. The chapter first outlines some of Derrida’s contributions to legal scholarship and European identity, and then proceeds with the following three arguments. First, Derrida can help us understand the well-known double bind of the constitutional relation to future people as merely an instance of a more general aporia. Second, the same temporal and aporetic structure entails that the future is already implicated in the founding and re-founding of law here and now. This is why the seemingly stalled project of a European constitution should be placed in a longer historical view, stretching back to the French Revolution and surrounding debates regarding the constitutional inclusion of future people and reaching forward at least another 200 years. Third, the same aporetic temporal structure also shows that we must inherit and pass on the law in what Derrida calls a double affirmation that entails a responsibility to oneself and to the other, the non-European required for self-identification. The double affirmation required of every identity responds to an ineluctable temporal-spatial dispersion by calling for re-unification, a call to re-affirm a heritage by promising to re-unify it. The result is, I will argue, that Europe needs to think of itself not only as a politically unified, let alone merely economic counterweight to the US and China, but also as an intergenerational project in which its constitutions and its institutions are to be shared with the unborn.

Keywords:   Derrida, law, Europe, constitution, intergenerationality

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