Must Europe be Swiss ? : on the idea of a voting space and the possibility of a multilingual demos
Title: Must Europe be Swiss ? : on the idea of a voting space and the possibility of a multilingual demos
Author: LACEY, Joseph
Citation: British Journal of Political Science, 2014, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 61-82
ISSN: 1469-2112; 0007-1234
Contrary to the view that linguistic homogeneity is required to create a viable demos, this article argues that linguistic diversity can be a permanent feature of any democratic community, so long as there is a unified and robust voting space that provides a common intentional object, around which distinct public spheres can aesthetically organize their political discourse. An attempt to explain how such a voting space operates in Switzerland, the finest existing exemplar of a multilingual demos, is given. Following the Swiss example, the author proposes, would go a long way to constituting the European Union as a democratically legitimate trans-national demos, despite its formidable linguistic diversity.
Online publication 12 March 2013.
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