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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 Case for Pluralism

The Case for Pluralism

(p.69) 3 The Case for Pluralism
Beyond Constitutionalism

Nico Krisch

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 develops a pluralist alternative to postnational constitutionalism. Pluralism recognizes the blurred separation of layers of law but does not seek to reorganize them in an overarching legal framework. It envisages a heterarchical structure in which the interaction of the different layers is not ultimately determined by one supreme legal rule but governed by a variety of (potentially conflicting) norms emanating from each of the layers. Pluralism has been increasingly used as a prism for understanding the structure of law beyond the state, but it has so far gained less attention as a normative vision. This chapter develops a normative argument based on the autonomy of individuals in a world in which visions of the right scope of the polity diverge. These diverging visions deserve respect and should find reflection in institutional structures—a demand an open, pluralist order is better placed to answer than a constitutionalist one in which relationships need to find legal settlement.

Keywords:   pluralism, constitutionalism, postnational order, autonomy, heterarchy

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