Ruth Sefton-Green, ‘French and English crypto-nationalism and European private law’

This paper examines forms of crypto-nationalistic discourse – a strong variant of Euroscepticism or even Europhobia – which have emerged as a reaction to growing European integration in the field of private law. The existence of such crypto-nationalistic rhetoric indicates that legal scholars are adopting an unbefitting role, by confusing reason and sentiment. I attempted to examine the various strands of this discourse through a critical comparative lens: French crypto-nationalism is more rife, more vehement and of a different nature than its English counterpart. French legal academic discourse is more rhetorical and impassioned, while English legal discourse is more rational and instrumental, coming rather from the legal profession and the politicians. After drawing up an empirical but non-exhaustive inventory, this enquiry enables us to draw inferences about the perception that French and English jurists have of their respective roles and the tendencies they have towards national conservatism and protectionism in the face of change. Granted, this message is not very encouraging for the construction of European private law. But by uncovering the cryptic nature of the arguments examined, let us hope we can move towards greater mutual understanding by using reason rather than sentiment.

Sefton-Green, Ruth, French and English crypto-nationalism and European private law. European Review of Contract Law. Volume 8, Issue 3, Pages 260–276, ISSN (Online) 1614-9939, ISSN (Print) 1614-9920, DOI: 10.1515/ercl-2012-0260, July 2012.

First posted 2012-07-11 06:33:40

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