Constitutional Patriotism

  • Vito Breda
Living reference work entry


This essay discusses constitutional patriotism and its possible implications in highly diversified societies. Constitutional patriotism is a theory of deliberative democracy that provides a normative justification for modern constitutional systems. In particular, constitutional patriotism suggests a rational explanation for the sense of alliance that individuals normally have toward their own constitutions without allocating such an alliance on the ever-present sense of belonging to a national community. The unpinning assumptions of constitutional patriotism are drawn from Kantian epistemology. In this essay, I will argue that constitutional patriotism as an explicative political theory must include a substantive protection of communal identities.

The practice of discussing political issues provides a mechanism for individuals who might profoundly disagree with the present and past results of such interaction to internalize the legitimacy of decisions taken by public institutions. This is the so-called normative spillover or normative surplus effect of constitutional patriotism. From this perspective, constitutional patriotism is one of most persuasive justifications for a democratic constitutional system that includes a large group of individuals who perceive others as strangers and yet are partakers of the ideals manifested in their constitutional document. However, I will argue that cultural diversity, which yields a plurality of political claims over what the common good might be, requires a substantive protection, analogous to the one that most liberal societies grant to religious communities and minority groups.


Constitutional Theory Deliberative Democracy Habermas 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of law and justiceUniversity of Southern QueenslandDarling HeightsAustralia

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