Academic Symposium on 'The Inherently Political Nature of Subsidiarity': Dr Dominic Burbidge (Oxford)
- Tuesday 4 December 2018
Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw
2311 ES Leiden
The Leiden-Oxford Exchange Visiting Fellow, Dr. Dominic Burbidge (Oxford, Law Faculty) will conduct a seminar for academic staff (promovendi and above, unless special permission given) about his article from the American Journal of Jurisprudence, 'The Inherently Political Nature of Subsidiarity'; see attached.
For more information, please contact Dr. Jonathan D. Price, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about LOx visiting fellow: Dr. Dominic Burbidge (University of Oxford, Faculty of Law) was invited by the Legal Philosophy Department, Faculty of Law, as part of the Leiden-Oxford Exchange.
In Oxford, Dr Burbidge is Research Associate of the Programme for the Foundations of Law and Constitutional Government. He received his doctorate in Oriel College, University of Oxford, and his masters in St Antony's College, of the same university, before working as a Postdoctoral Researcher in Princeton University and then a Departmental Lecturer in Oxford's School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies. He has also previously been a Postdoctoral Research Officer in Oxford's Faculty of Law. He has served several times as tutor for the Leiden-Oxford Exchange, and is the second person to be in residency at the law faculty as a visiting fellow of the exchange.
Abstract of article:
There is an essential contradiction in contemporary notions of subsidiarity. On the one hand, subsidiarity appeals to the ability of local bodies to engage in their own decision-making; on the other, subsidiarity employs a meta-explanation for appropriate levels of decision-making authority. In fact, therefore, the meta-explanation is assumed to provide a non-partisan basis for identifying when decision-making power should be exercised at a primary level (e.g., by representatives of the local association itself) and when at a subsidiarity level (e.g., by the state), assuming as a premise what needs to be proved as a conclusion. By making such an assumption, the criteria for who gets to decide are taken away from primary actors themselves, limiting the fullness
of their political involvement. The answer lies in recognizing that any meta-explanation for the theory of subsidiarity should be fully articulated as part of the democratic process and remain open to being questioned and challenged. The different intentions that lie behind switches to decentralization leave their mark on the nature of interference in sub-state units, proving that it is false to treat a principle of subsidiarity as politically neutral and of equivalent value wherever deployed. The meta-explanation of the criteria for aggregating or disaggregating power is something engaged with by citizens who do subsidiarity as a political practice. They take forward a view of appropriate decentralization in accordance with what they think the state should be doing and what associational groups should be doing. This at times yields priority to larger organizations for coordinated pursuit of some goods over others but does not surrender definitional discretion on the criteria for aggregating power. Defining the basis on which power is made hierarchical in society is part of the practice of doing subsidiarity, rendering subsidiarity by nature inherently political.