Additional Resources for Subsidiarity

Vibrant civic life requires effective balancing of freedom and responsibility at all scales of society. How do we discover and foster this balance?

Are there ways of thinking about and living out our common life that go beyond right, centre, left or other political labels?

Cardus is joining others in considering if subsidiarity can serve an enriched public conversation. In particular, can we find a way for to enrich partisan political discussions so that they enrich rather than detract from a vital civil society conversation about what we want together and how we are going to achieve what we want. Generally, subsidiarity represents a way of considering the balance between freedom and responsibility. The core tenants of subsidiarity are:

Challenges and opportunities should be acted upon by the lowest and closest institutional agents (i.e. civil society actors)

Don’t do for others (at scales from the individual to the societal) what they can and ought to do for themselves

Don’t fail to act in assisting others (at scales from the individual to the societal) where they cannot act for themselves

One of the appeals of this approach is that it speaks to the problem of too few mediating institutions between government and individuals, assigning effective roles to a range of institutions. It also represents a way to frame governance prior to partisan considerations.

Cardus is interested in exploring how subsidiarity could rejuvenate and bring cohesion to public and private thought and practice including both civil service and political processes and engagement. Through papers, research, and events with key leaders and thinkers, we hope to strengthen the discussion and practice of subsidiarity.

Additional Resources on Subsidiarity

What does "subsidiarity" mean? The relational perspective - Donati

A very readable introduction to the way that subsidiarity works to keep freedom and responsibility in tension at various scales. Go to article.

The ‘Lombardy Model’: Subsidiarity-informed Regional Governance - Colombo

This is an assessment of 12 years of government and policy structure in Lombardy Italy based on the principles of subsidiarity. Go to article

Topics: Subsidiarity