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Beyond ConstitutionalismThe Pluralist Structure of Postnational Law$
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Nico Krisch

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228317.001.0001

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The Promise and Perils of Postnational Constitutionalism

The Promise and Perils of Postnational Constitutionalism

(p.27) 2 The Promise and Perils of Postnational Constitutionalism
Beyond Constitutionalism

Nico Krisch

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 analyses the legacy of constitutionalism for politics and law beyond the state. It retraces the different modes in which constitutionalism has been conceptualized in regional and global contexts, asks what it means to ‘translate’ such a concept into another sphere, and investigates the historical and normative pedigree of its main strands—power-limiting and foundational constitutionalism. Foundational constitutionalism has been the dominant tradition in Western politics over the last two centuries, but if we take the experience of divided societies as a measure, it is unlikely fully to redeem its promise of framing (and taming) politics through law in the highly diverse and contested postnational space. Yet lowering ambitions and retreating to a power-limiting form of constitutionalism—a frequent move in current debates—would sell the constitutionalist project short: it would fail to live up to the more radical promise connected with it historically.

Keywords:   constitutionalism, divided societies, postnational order, foundational constitutionalism, power-limiting constitutionalism, constitutionalization

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