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"Serenity in overcoming crises": a parochial gloss on the transnational shift in constitutional vocabularies

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Iancu, Bogdan

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Abstract Along with the rise of the modern normative constitutions at the close of the eighteenth century, constitutionalism started to crystallize into a body of conceptual justifications for the limited government. Whereas constitutional phenomena always have parochial dimensions and connotations, related to the implications of popular sovereignty and the historical origins of various arrangements, the foundational concepts of constitutionalism are in their nature abstract and universalistic. Nonetheless, as long as constitutions reigned a world of nation-states, constitutionalism could serve, within the limited and concrete setting provided by the adherence of debates to state-bound constitutional phenomena, as a an intelligible meta-juridical language for assessing practices. With the contemporary erosion of the nation state came an increasing dilution of the constitutions' jurisdictional capacity to normatively predetermine legal and political evolutions. Conversely, as the locus of crucial decisions shifted, attempts were made to bring institutions and structures located beyond or alongside the classical nation-state in tune with inherited patterns of legal and political legitimacy. This contemporary phenomenon, interchangeably described as "supranational", "transnational", "global" or "international" constitutionalization, determined a detachment of the language of constitutionalism from the concrete context provided by nation state practices and also produced new, quasi-constitutional vocabularies. This article tests, on the basis of a Romanian case study, the capacity of constitutional language, when it is heaved to and abstracted at the cosmopolitan level, to function as a rational framework of reference.
Keywords constitutionalism; constitution; transnationalization; normativity; vocabulary
Classification Political System, Constitution, Government
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 9-23
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 13 (2013) 1
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works