No weakening, but rather an expansion, of statehood can be observed in the contemporary world. This does not, on the other hand, imply that extensive forms of constitutional ordering do not exist outside the realm of states. Instead, the evolution of world society has been characterized by a protracted dual movement where the expansion and densification of statehood and autonomous forms of transnational ordering gradually emerged in a mutually constitutive fashion. One implication of this is that neither the concept of the state nor the concept of nonstate transnational entities is adequately capable of delineating the object of constitutional analysis. Instead, the concept of normative orders has been introduced as an overarching category capable of identifying the contexts within which constitutional ordering emerges.
Subsequently, a distinction between the internal and external dimensions of the law of normative orders has been introduced, specifying them as respectively oriented towards establishing internal condensation of a given normative order and external compatibility between different normative orders. With this background, a framework for the analysis of constitutional frameworks of normative orders developed. The central element is a distinction among three dimensions: First, a constitution implies a coupling between a constitutional object, in the form of a hierarchical organization of a given normative order capable of reproducing an autonomous source of authority, and a concordant legal framework. Second, constitutionalization implies a coupling between an internal reconstruction of an external constitutional subject within the constitutional object, and the register of legal rights, establishing a framework for exchanges between the constitutional object and the wider world as represented by the constitutional subject. Third, constitutionalism denotes the institutionalization of a double function, in the form of a principle-based and legally fortified striving toward universal inclusion, providing a sense of direction in time through an articulated form of constitutional consciousness.
The insights developed are briefly illustrated by the case of the global Fairtrade Certification System.