Federalisms and Crises of Sovereignties: A Typology

A CoG Event
Thursday, 24 March 2022 - 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Off-campus address: 
en ligne
Contact information
Contact person: 
Anna Bogic
Registration required: 
Cost to attend: 
Free of charge
Event language: 

Presented by the Centre on Governance and the Federalism and Multilevel Governance Research Network

The emergence of federalist thought and popular sovereignty in the seventeenth century, especially in the writings of Althusius, initiated a confrontation between the classical, bodinian concept of absolute sovereignty and the novel idea that power can be distributed among several loci of sovereignty within a federative polity. Whereas the ideological confusion between confederation and federation hampered the making of clear and stable legal norms in the next centuries, the federated states have at times challenged the constitutional sovereignty of the federal state for the benefit of their political sovereignties. How have these demands expressed themselves in the context of federal supremacy? Are they the manifestation of viable partial and residual sovereignties, or a political artifice?

This webinar will present results from Dr. Benoit Delerue’s doctoral research which identified and analyzed three main types of potential structural crises within federative models, from the study of Brazilian, Canadian and United States political histories: the offensive crisis, as an armed hegemonic conflict; the defensive crisis, as a soft autonomist assertion within the federative pact; and the radical crisis, as an assumed desire for separatist breakup. The aim is to contribute to the understanding of the complex conceptual relationships between federalism and sovereignty.

The event will be in French.


Dr. Benoit Delerue

Affiliated Researcher at the Centre on Governance of the University of Ottawa and Research Associate at the Centre lyonnais d’études de sécurité et de défense of the University of Lyon

Moderated by:

Dr. André Lecours, Professor in the School of Political Studies and Director of the Federalism and Multilevel Governance Research Network