The “social principle” fractal: the Italian constitutional tradition and the reproduction of the economic constitution in the areas of free speech and national sovereignty



This article investigates the Italian constitutional tradition and focuses specifically on one of its quintessential features (arguably its most peculiar and relevant one), i.e. what it proposes to refer to as “the social principle”. Such principle encompasses the principle of equality, the labour principle, and the principle of solidarity, and is also closely connected to the anti-fascist principle.
After outlining some methodological guidelines to account for the criteria followed in selecting the materials, it makes the case that the centrality of the social principle is such as to ripple and spill over neighbouring, but apparently unrelated areas. It is submitted that such degree of protection is so high that it somewhat uniquely influences all the other parts of the constitution. Arguably, the social principle, enshrined in the economic (part of the) constitution, is a pattern that reproduces itself self-similarly in all the remaining articles, similarly to the recursive repetition of a basic unit in fractals.
The article considers extensively the areas where the social principle has arguably its most distinctive impact, namely free speech (and religious freedom) and the way in which national sovereignty is conceived. The conclusion also factors in the antifascist birth of the Italian constitution and offers some final remarksm in order to strengthen my case on the “fractal” nature of the social principle**.


1. Introduction.
2. The construction of the national “constitutional tradition”: the social common denominator
2.1 The reasons to exclude other fundamental rights and principles
2.2 Some current trends in the evolution of the social principle
3. The reproduction of the social principle in apparently unrelated areas
3.1 Freedom of expression and its restrictions in light of the social
principle (plus a brief note on religious freedom and the relationship with the Catholic Church)
3.2 National sovereignty towards the inside (territorial indivisibility) and the outside (international law and the European legal system
4. A tentative conclusion: trying to capture the Italian constitutional tradition through the “fractal” nature of its social principle

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