The Age of Dignity: Human Rights and Constitutionalism in Europe

The Age of Dignity: Human Rights and Constitutionalism in Europe

By: Catherine Dupre (author)Paperback

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Human dignity is one of the most challenging and exciting ideas for lawyers and political philosophers in the twenty-first century. Even though it is rapidly emerging as a core concept across legal systems, and is the first foundational value of the European Union and its overarching human rights commitment under the Lisbon Treaty, human dignity is still little understood and often mistrusted. Based on extensive comparative and cross-disciplinary research, this path-breaking monograph provides an innovative and critical investigation of human dignity's origins, development and above all its potential at the heart of European constitutionalism today. Grounding its analysis in the connections among human dignity, human rights, constitutional law and democracy, this book argues that human dignity's varied and increasing uses point to a deep transformation of European constitutionalism. At its heart are the construction and protection of constitutional time, and the multi-dimensional definition of humanity as human beings, citizens and workers. Anchored in a detailed comparative study of case law, including the two European supranational courts and domestic constitutional courts, especially those of Germany, the UK, France and Hungary, this monograph argues for a new understanding of European constitutionalism as a form of humanism.

About Author

Catherine Dupre is the author of Importing the Law in Post-Communist Transitions: The Hungarian Constitutional Court and the Right to Human Dignity (Hart Publishing, 2003) and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter.


1. Introduction I. The Rise of Dignity II. Positioning Human Dignity at the Heart of European Constitutionalism III. Human Dignity as a Constitutional Concept IV. The Age of Dignity 2. We are Not Born in Dignity I. Introduction II. Human Dignity as Ideal III. 1789: From Dignities to Dignity IV. Dignity as Humanity V. Conclusion 3. The Foundations of European Constitutionalism: 1949, 1989, 2009 I. Introduction II. Making Sense of the Past III. Human Dignity as Constitutional Foundation IV. Normative Definition of Human Dignity V. Conclusion 4. Human Dignity: A Judge-Made Concept I. Introduction II. Endorsing and Re-Activating the Foundational Promise III. Making Human Dignity European IV. The Essence of European Constitutionalism V. Conclusion 5. Hidden in Plain View: Workers' Human Dignity I. Introduction II. Workers are Human Beings III. Constructing Workers' Dignity: The EU Charter as a Basis IV. Workers' Dignity and Democracy V. Conclusion 6. Defining Dignity, Protecting Human Time I. Introduction II. Constitutional Time Overflows III. Human Dignity as Human Time IV. Protecting Human Time V. Conclusion 7. Re-Thinking European Constitutionalism: Dignity, Humanism, Democracy I. Introduction II. Constitutionalism as Humanism III. Dignity-Democracy IV. Conclusion 8. Conclusion

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781509920013
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 256
  • ID: 9781509920013
  • ISBN10: 1509920013

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