Journal Article

Situating the debate on global constitutionalism

Christine E. J. Schwöbel

in International Journal of Constitutional Law

Published on behalf of The New York University School of Law

Volume 8, issue 3, pages 611-635
Published in print July 2010 | ISSN: 1474-2640
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1474-2659 | DOI:
Situating the debate on global constitutionalism

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  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • UK Politics


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The question of whether a global constitution exists or is emerging, and, if so, what form it takes, is one of the most intriguing and controversial topics of recent international legal debate. The article attempts to shed some light on this debate from the perspective of public international law by situating the predominant visions of global constitutionalism in relation to four dimensions that together make up the bulk of contemporary contributions. I call these four dimensions: social constitutionalism, institutional constitutionalism, normative constitutionalism, and analogical constitutionalism. Under critical scrutiny, it becomes apparent that, for all their complexity and diversity, the prevailing notions of global constitutionalism are all confined to the trajectories of liberal democratic political thought. This is determined by way of the identification of five of the key themes of liberal democratic constitutionalism. It is put forward that such confinement gives rise to concerns regarding the limitations of the current debate on global constitutionalism.

Journal Article.  10866 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; UK Politics

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