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Held by the ANU Centre for European Studies.
Made famous by Jürgen Habermas in the late seventies, constitutional patriotism has appealed to politicians and academics world-wide. First coined by Dolf Sternberger, the concept has been studied, debated, critiqued and applied to polities around the globe, although it found particular resonance in post-war Germany and the nascent European Union. As a concept which emerged during a period of intense national reflection and supra-national integration, constitutional patriotism has been promoted by its exponents as a possible source of identity, civic attachment and political unity. For its detractors, however, it is seen as an empty rhetorical device, ignoring history and culture in its attempt to promote a post-nationalist political order around universal constitutional values.
Last year Germany celebrated the 60th anniversary of its Basic Law. This year Australia celebrates the 110th Anniversary of its Constitution. As its citizens become increasingly more diverse, and as it debates a post-British era national identity, can Australia profit from the ideas of constitutional patriotism? Is it already present? Has constitutional patriotism worked in Europe? Is it desirable and feasible in either region of the world?