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Reclaiming Constitutionalism

Democracy, Power and the State

By: Maria Tzanakopoulou
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Published: 25-06-2020
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 232
ISBN: 9781509939626
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £30.00
Online price : £27.00
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Loren Epson

About Reclaiming Constitutionalism

Reclaiming Constitutionalism articulates an argument for why the constitutional phenomenon remains attached to the state – despite the recent advent of theories of global constitutionalism. Drawing from the idea that constitutionalism historically sought to build social consensus, this book argues that the primary aim of constitutionalism is to create social peace and to shield, rather than to limit, the power of political elites in any given state. Implicit in the effort to preserve social peace is the fundamentally important acknowledgement of social conflict. Constitutionalism seeks to offer a balance between opposing social forces. However, this balancing process can sometimes ignite, rather than appease, social conflict. Constitutionalism may thus further a project of social struggles and emancipation, for it incorporates within its very nucleus the potential for an agonistic version of democracy. In light of the connection between social conflict and constitutionalism, this book explores the conditions for and locations of the former. From the state and the EU to the global level, it considers the role of citizenship, national identities, democracy, power, and ideology, in order to conclude that the state is the only site that satisfies the prerequisites for social conflict. Reclaiming constitutionalism means building a discourse that opens up an emancipatory potential; a potential that, under current conditions, cannot be fulfilled beyond the borders of the state.

Table Of Contents

PART I: Constitutions and Constitutionalism: The Legal, the Political, the Citizen and the Status quo
Introduction of Part I
1. The Roots of Law, the Roots of Constitutionalism
I. The Foundation of Law: Politics and Social Conflict as Roots of the 'Legal'
II. Constitutionalism in Modernity: The Social and Historical Juncture
2. The Telos of Modern Constitutionalism
I. Constitutionalism in Modernity
II. Constitutionalism, Ideology and the Politics of Consensus
Conclusion of Part I: The Question of the Nation State

PART II: The Constitutional Failure of Europe: Citizenship, Democracy and Consensus
Introduction of Part II
3. The Dialectics of Citizenship: Europe as a Citizenship-Capable Entity
I. The No-Demos Thesis
II. The Nation, the State and Europe
III. Citizenship and Community: Citizenship as a Dynamic Concept
IV. Political Citizenship: Citizenship as a Dynamic Process
V. Social Citizenship and Equality
4. What Kind of European Citizenship?
I. European Citizenship in Practice
II. The European Public Space
III. Deliberative Europe
Conclusion of Part II: European Citizenship Revisited

PART III: Global Governance: Discourse and Truth, Power and Resistance
Introduction of Part III
5. Global Governance as Discourse-Global Governance as Truth
I. Truth and Discourse: An Invented Dilemma
II. Global Governance Discourse
6. Foucault and Power: Global Governance beyond Discourse
I. Global Governance beyond Discourse: The Terms of the New Paradigm
II. An Introduction to the Discussion on Power
III. Foucault and the Function of Power
IV. A Positive Reflection on Global Governance: The Example of the Problematics of Global Poverty
V. The Possibility for Resistance at the Global Level
7. The Unviability of Global Citizenship: Looking into the Deeds of Global Civil Society
I. Global Civil Society: Back to the Dialectics of Citizenship
II. The Prospects of Global Citizenship
Conclusion of Part III

PART IV: The Foundation of Power: Bringing Constitutionalism back to the State Introduction of Part IV
8. The Capitalist Mode of Production: The Economic Relation as the Primary Relation of the Nation State
I. The Mode of Production in Marxist Thought
II. The Detachment of the Capitalist Mode of Production from the Nation State: An Implausible Suggestion
9. State, Ideology and the Class Struggle
I. State and the Economy: A Dialectical Relationship
II. The Intervention of Ideological State Apparatuses in the Economic Relation
III. The Foundation of Power: The State is Permeated by Class Struggle
IV. Power as a Relation and State as its Primary Locus-the Role and Symbolisms of the National Constitution
Conclusion of Part IV: Revisiting State Constitutionalism
Conclusion: State, Power, Constitutionalism


“The book's contribution to constitutional debates is theoretically ambitious. It transverses Marxist and critical approaches to constitutionalism with EU law, and as such is recommended to everyone interested in European constitutionalism.” –  Tomi Tuominen, Common Market Law Review

“Maria Tzanakopoulou's book provides an original contribution to the discussion on the role of sovereign nation-states in a time of increasing extraterritorial challenges and the growing significance of non-state actors in world politics.” –  David Gazsi, King's College London, Journal of Common Market Studies

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