The New Constitutional Question

Gunther Teubner

in Constitutional Fragments

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644674
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738814 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Constitutional Theory

The New Constitutional Question

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This chapter is an introduction to the major themes ofthe book. It begins with a discussion of the ‘new constitutional question’ raised by public scandals, such as multinational corporations' violation of human rights and the World Trade Organization decisions that have endangered the environment or human health in the name of global free trade. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the concern was to release the energies of political power in nation states and at the same time to limit that power effectively. Today, these energies are being unleashed in social spheres beyond the nation state. Constitutionalism beyond the nation state means two different things: constitutional problems arising outside the borders of the nation state in transnational political processes, and at the same time outside the institutionalized political sector, in the ‘private’ sectors of global society. The chapter also addresses the following questions: What are the questionable premises that set the contemporary debate on transnational constitutions off in the wrong direction? With which assumptions should they be replaced?

Keywords: constitutionalism; political power; social energies; nation state; constitutional problems; transnational constitutions

Chapter.  5407 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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