Title: The constitutionalisation of indigenous culture as a new paradigm of the caring state

Authors: Silvia Bagni

Addresses: Dipartimento di Scienze giuridiche, Bologna University, via Zamboni 27/29, 40126 Bologna, Italy

Abstract: The air of freshness blown into the debate on alternative and sustainable development by the concept of buen vivir is beginning to produce discussions even in the juridical field, involving in particular constitutional comparativists. Ecuador and Bolivia have constitutionalised this concept since the constitutional reforms of 2008 and 2009, but if we try to understand this phenomenon under comparative lenses, we may find traces of institutional change even in countries with different cultural and historical backgrounds, such as Bhutan and South Africa. All these countries have been interested in processes of constitutional (re)foundation and chose similar methods and contents for their new constitutional systems. Comparing all the common elements in the experiences analysed, even if aware of the different contexts, I propose to read them as the germinal phase of a new form of state, the caring state, where the state cares for each member of the community, everyone cares for the other and both the state and each individual care for the environment as a living part of the biotic community.

Keywords: buen vivir; new constitutionalism; form of state; ubuntu; gross national happiness; nature rights; caring state; interculturalism; chthonic tradition; indigenous culture; constitutionalisation; Ecuador; Bolivia; Bhutan; South Africa.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEPDM.2015.074293

International Journal of Environmental Policy and Decision Making, 2015 Vol.1 No.3, pp.205 - 226

Received: 24 Apr 2014
Accepted: 18 Apr 2015

Published online: 21 Jan 2016 *

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