Project Project
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Constitutional Identity and Global Migration

Bild: Grafiker: Beppe Giacobbe
Research Fields
Global Migration
Constitutional Identity
Project Management
2017 - 2022
ERC Starting Grant
European University Institute (EUI)

Global migration has revived the question of collective identity, as George Orwell noted: “It is only when you meet someone of a different culture from yourself that you begin to realize what your own beliefs really are.” Immigration policy echoes constitutional identity by mirroring the qualities that “we” value in others and by reflecting the essentials that define “us” as a nation.

In recent years, liberal democracies have implemented a variety of “cultural-defense means,” directing immigrants to embrace the values and identities of the host society. Integration has become mandatory, sanctioned, and test-based. Perhaps for the first time in modern history, nation-states offer, or attempt to offer, a legal definition of their collective identity. This issue is a hot button especially in Europe, where leading officials in Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia declared a right to impose immigration restrictions to defend what they perceive as their constitutional identity.

The project examines three issues: [1] the concept of constitutional identity—its normative sources, methods of identification, and mechanisms of legal protection, as well as how it differs from other conceptions of identity (national identity, way of life, etc.); [2] whether it is justified to protect fundamental changes in a country’s constitutional identity by setting selective rules for admission; [3] how should states reconcile tensions between the claims to identity made by majorities, and the rights of minority groups? On the whole, the project analyzes the nexus between global migration and constitutional identity under different approaches (international, comparative, theoretical), disciplines (law, philosophy, sociology), and levels (national, regional, international).


Constitutional Identity in the Age of Global Immigration, 30.06.-01.07.2017