Today’s most pressing constitutional question is posed by a global economic system whose expansive tendencies seem no longer controllable. In addressing this question, the theory of Societal Constitutionalism apparently shifts established ideological coordinates by developing a theory of the self-constitutionalization of social spheres. It seeks to combine the virtues of grassroots democracy with the sophistication of systemic social theory. Thus, its normative claim can be formulated as an oxymoron: “Occupy the System!” The claim is an oxymoron because it points to the apparent impossibility of critical social theory in a functionally differentiated society: How can a functional system such as the economy be “occupied” or “democratized”? Yet the oxymoron contains a grain of truth. With a view to the concrete example of transnational standard-setting procedures in the field of corporate accounting, this article examines institutional and systemic processes that enable an emerging political discourse at the core of the global economic system.


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pp. 941-964
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