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Fractal Federalism for Complex Societies: The Basque Case

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Abstract

It is not easy to define the Spanish State of Autonomies, as it is not easy to accurately define either the Basque-Navarrese territories or the European Union. These three cases pose many theoretical problems to be conceptualized because of their internal asymmetry and complexity.

The paper will deal with these three cases. Firstly, the question of whether the Spanish State of Autonomies is a federal or quasi-federal state has been asked for a long time. The approach of this paper suggests that a fruitful way to understand it is to analyze it on three interwoven variables: elements showing a centralization trend, federal elements, and confederate elements. Taking this three-sided distinction into account, we have reached the conclusion that the Spanish State cannot be considered a federal or quasi federal state due to the absence of constitutional formalization of some key rights and guarantees for the federated states (autonomies), as well as because of the existence of some very strong centralizing or centripetal elements.

Secondly, the research will analyze the aforementioned Basque-Navarrese territories, currently organized into two separated autonomies, because they show some of the most striking confederate elements in Spain, namely their Foral fiscal systems. Again, here we will follow our tripartite analysis.

Thirdly, the same template will be used to study the European Union, identifying its main centralized, federal, and confederate elements.

Finally, after having shown the confluence of these three kinds of organizational patterns into the three cases mentioned above (scales), it is suggested that this same confluence is in itself the very relevant fact, being a constitutive element of complex societies. In this sense, we suggest that the concept of fractality applied to federalism, some fractal federalism, may be useful for better understanding this complex pattern of organization that replicates itself scale after scale, even if sometimes it is not well observed or understood.

Keywords

European Central Bank Political Culture Basque Country Autonomous Community Spanish State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International RelationsUniversity of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)BilbaoSpain

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