Legal Integration in the EU: The 'Unitas in Diversitate' Conundrum And the Importance of Considering Culture
10 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2009
Date Written: March, 16 2009
An obvious downside of any slogan or motto is that it is necessarily a simplified version of what it attempts to convey. Thus while they may provide a handy hook, the very 'catchiness' and accessibility of mottoes often serve to disguise the complexity of the concept(s) at their heart. This paper submits that the European Union watchword of unitas in diversitate, or 'united in diversity', suffers from this problem, in particular in terms of its utilisation in Europeanisation debates involving law and legal culture.
The aim of this paper is to present the argument that the optimal way of conceptualising 'unity in diversity' in the European Union is as an expression of unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation, and this will be done in two sections. This paper will firstly analyse the concepts of 'unity' and 'diversity' and then their juxtaposition, while the second section will look to considerations of culture in order to determine whether it can be seen as either a positive or negative factor in the process of the Europeanisation of law. In doing so it will present two alternative dichotomies of the concept, namely: culture as grounds for unity or grounds for diversity, and culture as instrumentalist or contextualist.
Keywords: Legal culture, Europeanisation, Unity and diversity
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