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The Age of Dignity

Human Rights and Constitutionalism in Europe

By: Catherine Dupré
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Published: 19-11-2015
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 256
ISBN: 9781849461030
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP : £55.00

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Loren Epson

About The Age of Dignity

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.

Table Of Contents

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


The Age of Dignity offers an array of ways of thinking about, interpreting and shaping (human) dignity through time, unfolded with the aspiration of humanist constitutionalism at its centre.” –  Natasa Mavronicola, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Birmingham, Legal Studies

“(...) This book is a welcome addition to a growing body of academic writing on the complex and often cross-disciplinary subject of dignity, which will interest EU law scholars as well as those concerned with jurisprudence or the social science.” –  Julie C. Knight, PhD student, Yearbook of European Law

“...the book combines high academic quality with a path-breaking analysis on the concept of human dignity. Hence, it is well suited for both students and professionals interested in the area.” –  Bernhard Wetschko, European Yearbook on Human Rights 2017

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