Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Maria Cahill
American Journal of Jurisprudence
Sovereignty, Liberalism and the Intelligibility of Attraction to Subsidiarity
Optional Fields
Subsidiarity, Liberalism, Sovereignty, Theories of Authority
Although our attraction to subsidiarity may often be little more than skin deep, this article proposes that there is a hidden intelligibility to the phenomenon of its gaining increasing attention and prestige. That intelligibility can be discerned through a consideration of the archetype of authority that subsidiarity proposes: embedded authority, which acknowledges the existence of and mandates engagement with groups as groups. This archetype of embedded authority originally acted as a counterweight to the model of disembedded authority proposed by early theories of sovereignty, and in a similar way, subsidiarity’s consistent proposal of embedded authority currently operates as a counterweight to liberalism, with its individualistic emphasis. Against the backdrop of these diverging archetypes of authority, it becomes clearer that subsidiarity cannot be reduced to the status of a charming trinket to embellish liberalism’s public sphere. In fact, coming from an “alien” tradition, subsidiarity offers deep solutions to problems that liberalism itself cannot address.
University of Oxford / Notre Dame University, USA
Grant Details