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Political constitutionalism and the European Union

Wilkinson, Michael (2013) Political constitutionalism and the European Union. Modern Law Review, 76 (2). pp. 191-222. ISSN 0026-7961

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1468-2230.12010


What kind of constitution is emerging in Europe? There are two approaches to answering this question. The first, a ‘foundational’ approach, rejects the premise: there can be no real constitution in the absence of a ‘demos’, a foundation which exists only nationally. The second, ‘freestanding’ approach, depicts it as paradigmatic of a broader phenomenon of cosmopolitan constitutionalism, based on individual rights guaranteed through a transnational rule of law. Rejecting both for their failure to account for European constitutionalism as a historical process of polity-building, a third approach, ‘political constitutionalism’, is proposed, capturing the dynamic quality of constitutionalisation in the EU. From this perspective, what is emerging in Europe is a constitution that reflects a common good (predominantly conceived in economic terms), albeit one which is legally, political and socially contested. It is by capturing this complex picture of the political formation of Europe that the constitutional question will be most fruitfully pursued.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2013 The Author. The Modern Law Review © 2013 The Modern Law Review Limited
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2013 12:07
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 14:28

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