Abstract

The aim of this article is to reframe the debate on societal constitutionalism and constitutionalization from a spatial to a temporal framework. This analytical shift is due to the dramatic acceleration of societal processes, which are increasingly crossing the spatial boundaries of nation-states and of all the other social structures embedded in peculiar places. This high-speed society is characterized by the so-called temporalization of complexity, which influences every aspect of social life and, in particular, the “validity” of law. On the basis of this theoretical background, I would like to show that changing the form of observation from a spatial to a temporal framework may help in understanding the future of constitutionalism in a different and creative way. To cite some of the examples presented in this article, such shifts in the form of observation could help us to reconsider: (a) why so many scholars prefer now to talk about “processes” of constitutionalization instead of constitutions as “structures”; (b) the growing relevance of courts instead of legislative bodies for processes of global constitutionalization; (c) the blurring or vanishing of the modern distinction between pouvoir constituant/pouvoir constitué; and (d) the fundamental role of human rights and dignity within the processes of global constitutionalization. The temporalization of constitutions could help us to understand and foresee a new and emerging ideal of societal constitutionalism in which the processes and structures of the structural coupling between (not national) polities and law are open to the challenges of a hyper-complex world society.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0367
Print ISSN
1080-0727
Pages
pp. 731-776
Launched on MUSE
2014-03-02
Open Access
No
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