Why Do Social Freedoms Become Forgotten Freedoms?

This paper engages in a comparative examination on tendencies of constitutional law in several Western liberal democratic states to render social freedoms into forgotten freedoms. These constitutional orders contain textual protections of social freedoms (including assembly, association, and other similar freedoms), but this text tends to receive less attention over extended periods of jurisprudential and scholarly development. The paper builds on some scholarly work on forgotten freedoms, including Inazu’s work on assembly in the United States and a forthcoming collection in Canada (which the author co-edited), but it adds a new dimension in seeking to use several key examples to highlight reasons behind the phenomenon of social freedoms becoming forgotten.

The Power and Potential of Freedom of Association

This paper traces the right to freedom of association in comparative perspective, with a view to understanding and evaluating how effectively it protects the rights of social groups to pursue their own lawful purposes. Since comparative research on the contours of the right to freedom of association is very thin on the ground, the paper provides some original insights at that level. However, at a deeper level, the paper also aims to explore the tension between, on the one hand, freedom of association understood qua liberal right and therefore essentially aimed at protecting the individual in her sociality and, on the other hand, freedom of association understood with a greater feminist sensibility which is aimed at protecting and promoting relationships of care which provide social capital.

Social groups: Constitutional Law’s Missing Link

The International Society of Public Law (ICON) was founded, as Armin von Bogdandy would later summarize it, to promote more comparative, interdisciplinary, and theoretical approaches to constitutional law. Nearly twenty years later, it seems safe to conclude that it has realized this goal to a large extent. The recent volume on Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? is convincing proof of this development. However, as the same volume demonstrates, something is still missing, that was not explicitly part of the founding ideals of ICON. In the proposed paper, I will argue that the latter ‘something’ is the academic pursuit of what the Tradition calls the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. It is obviously beyond the scope of this paper to define what the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in constitutional law could stand for in 2020. It will, however, be argued that somehow social groups form part of that definition.

Sociability Online

This paper examines the capacity of forms of online sociability to serve as alternatives to more traditional forms of social interaction with respect to building trust, exchanging information and creating knowledge. The Web facilitates access to other subcultures and liberates from constraining social environments. Individuals can seek out like-minded persons and groups online and achieve acceptance that helps them withstand social censure and develop parts of their identity that otherwise might have crumbled under social disapproval (e.g. McKenna&Bargh 1998). The paper provides an overview over different forms of online sociability and examines their impact on the formation of social groups, interaction patterns and effects on sociability and trust through a comparative analysis with previous forms of sociability as theorized in 18-20th century liberal democratic theory.

Liberal-democratic citizenship and religious schools

A limited conception of liberal-democratic citizenship (LDC) ought to constrain the capacity of the state to ensure its own social reproduction to the detriment of other communities, including a religious community (RC). RCs may prioritize their own social reproduction over the development of LDC, or establish separate confessional schools to preserve themselves against a dominant culture that threatens to assimilate them. While neither the state nor the RC’s claim to social reproduction has first-order priority over the other, RCs in a democratic society may have a second-order interest in allowing some democratic regulation of schooling in order to preserve the political community of which they are part. Any limits to the autonomy of religious schooling rely not on the congruence of RCs to LDS values, but to a much more modest standard, a domestic analogue to the recognition Rawlsian liberals afford to “decent hierarchical societies” on the international sphere.