Opening Pandora’s Box: Process and Paradox in the Federalism of Political Identity

  • Michael Burgess


The Berlin Wall fell in November 1989 signalling the end of the Cold War and ushering in—or so it seemed—a new dawn in both European and world politics. The implications of its impact were as colossal as they were many-sided and two decades later, we are still trying to come to terms with what happened. However, if the consequences of rediscovering Europe were undoubtedly extensive, the subsequent impact of the implosion of the Soviet Union in December 1991 to reveal ‘Mother Russia’ guaranteed that we were also witnessing a seismic shift in the tectonic plates of world politics. The former was very much a European affair, while the latter—marking the end of bipolarity—was of global significance. In a short book titled Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century (1914–1991), which appeared in 1994, Eric Hobsbawm chose to reconfigure this century largely in terms of a Marxist ideological unity stretching from the Russian Revolution in 1917 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and to see in it a distinct historical epoch, and an experiment that had run its course (Hobsbawm 1994).


Liberal Democracy Political Identity World Politics Federal Model Political Salience 
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Notes and References

  1. E. Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991, (London: Michael Joseph, 1994)Google Scholar
  2. See M. Burgess, In Search of the Federal Spirit: New Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives in Comparative Federalism, (Oxford: OUP, 2012)Google Scholar
  3. M. Forsyth, Unions of States: The Theory and Practice of Confederation, (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1981)Google Scholar
  4. D.J. Elazar, Exploring Federalism, (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1987)Google Scholar
  5. C. Taylor, Multiculturalism and “The Politics of Recognition”: An Essay, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992)Google Scholar
  6. F. Requejo, Multinational Federalism and Value Pluralism, (London: Routledge, 2005)Google Scholar
  7. Burgess, In Search of the Federal Spirit, (Oxford: OUP, 2012)Google Scholar
  8. Elazar, Exploring Federalism, (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1987)Google Scholar
  9. R.L. Watts, Comparing Federal Systems, (London: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008) 3rd editionGoogle Scholar
  10. V. Bogdanor, The New British Constitution, (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2009)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Federalism Studies, University of KentCanterburyUK

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