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"Contested Constitutionalisation: Towards a Theory of Democratic Constitutionalism"

CAS 06/11/2007

The workshop seeks to develop further insights into the contested nature of the foundations of processes of constitutionalisation beyond the nation state and to pin down the implications this may have for adequate conceptualisations of constitutionalism. By linking theoretical and empirical perspectives we expect to develop a better understanding of the efffects of ethical pluralism and contested normative meanings in political, legal and societal settings beyond-the-state. In these contexts practices of contestation become a central issue for research especially with regard to problems of political representation and constitutional arrangements.

Our central proposition is that studying the processes of constitutionalisation while focusing on ‘diversity’ and ‘contestation’ as its key norms, will reveal a need to move beyond the traditional notion of ‘constitutional democracy’ towards a notion of ‘democratic constitutionalism’ that accepts the equiprimordiality of democracy and constitutionalism. We therefore propose to revise the traditional view of constitutionalism that viewed the system of politics as itself both constitutive and constitutional. Against this background, especially two questions will be raised:

(1) What is constitutionalisation beyond the state and what shape does it have to take – a question which mainly addresses the task of conceptualizing institution-building beyond the state.

(2) What is to be understood as democratic constitutionalisation beyond the state? What are the conceptual prerequisites and the favourable empirical conditions for rendering institution-building beyond the state democratic and how can these be analytically captured and empirically observed?

The deadline for applications to participate in the workshop is 1 December 2007.

Rainer Schmalz-Bruns
University Hannover
Institute for Political Science
Schneiderberg 50
30167 Hannover
Tel: +49 511 762 5482
Fax: +49 511 762 4199

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