This article discusses the theories of federalism as formulated by the early modern thinker Johannes Althusius and by 20th century political thinker Hannah Arendt. The article ventures into a discussion on the specific democratic attributes of Althusius’ and Arendt’s federal visions, focusing on the federal nature of Althusius’ concept of association and Arendt’s concept of the promise. Moreover, the article argues for understanding Althusius’ and Arendt’s federalisms as expressions of the constituent power, as a way in which the collectivity can organize itself institutionally without relinquishing their original power to constitute new institutional forms. Finally, the article seeks to place federalism in a historical and conceptual discussion with state sovereignty, hereby denaturalizing the idea of the state as modernity’s only political form, by showing the key differences between state sovereignty and the central tenets of Althusius’ and Arendt’s notions of federalism. The article concludes by enumerating two political principles of the federation, namely association and self-rule.
|Number of pages
|Published - 2016