Democratic pluralism, social cohesion and individual ethos in the secularized state: The political thought of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde

2018 | journal article; research paper. A publication of Göttingen

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​Democratic pluralism, social cohesion and individual ethos in the secularized state: The political thought of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde​
Künkler, M.   & Stein, T. ​ (2018) 
Constellations25(2) pp. 181​-183​.​ DOI: 

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Künkler, Mirjam ; Stein, Tine 
There are several reasons why one would today turn to the work of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde; a judge in Germany's Federal ConstitutionalCourt who authored one of the highest number of dissenting opinions in the court's history (two of which later became the majority opinion). Böckenförde (b. 1930) is one of Europe's foremost public law scholars and a major public commentator on issues of diverse theoretical and practical import, ranging from legal theoretical debates about the rule of law and constitutional democracy, the state of exception, and the place of values in grounding the law, to normative discussions about the deployment of nuclear missiles, the regulation of abortion, asylum, EU enlargement, counter-terrorism, genetic engineering, and the capitalist globalized economy (Böckenförde, 2017). As we have laid out elsewhere (Künkler & Stein, 2017), Böckenförde writes as a social democrat, a Catholic, and a liberal. It is not only these plural normative commitments that make Böckenförde an unusual thinker. It is also the originality of his theoretical contributions towards understanding, legitimizing, and criticizing the democratic constitutional state that make him invaluable for contemporary political theory. Many democracies suffer today from deep polarization, amplified by growing economic inequality and increasingly separate lifeworlds with divergent cultural outlooks, nationalist versus cosmopolitan, particularistic versus universalist, and laissez-faire versus regulatory views of government. New culture wars have emerged, accompanied by new nationalist populisms. Böckenförde's writings on how plural societies need to, and can, come to a shared understanding of their responsibilities to one another as citizens, and which tools are at the disposal of the state in this undertaking (and which ones at the disposal of society), are of central interest in this regard.
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Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät ; Institut für Politikwissenschaft ; Arbeitsbereich Politische Theorie & Ideengeschichte 



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