Popular Federalism for a Compound Polity? The Federalism of the Antifederalists and Implications for Multilevel Governance

  • Dirk Jörke
  • Jared SonnicksenEmail author
Part of the Comparative Territorial Politics book series (COMPTPOL)


Debates on the nature of the Union have accompanied the European integration project from the outset and well into the present. Much research has already looked to experience and theory of US federalism for orientation and comparability, though there remains a clear bias toward the ‘Federalism of the Federalists’. In contrast, we examine the ‘Federalism of the Antifederalists’ with a two-fold analytical purpose. First, revisiting the ideational-historical transformation of federalism allows the provision of another concept of democratic federalism. Drawing on Dahl’s classic dualism between Madisonian and Populistic democracy, we conceptualize ‘Popular Federalism’ in contrast to ‘Madisonian Federalism’. Building upon that, we depict the democratic-federal and integration challenges the EU faces. Finally, we draw conclusions on how Popular Federalism provides not only a useful concept for comparative federalism, but also for ensuring balance between effective governance, integration and popular rule in a compound polity.


Antifederalists Democracy European Union Federalism Governance 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Political ScienceTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany

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