This chapter discusses the rule of law as fundamental norm of global governance. Like most such norms, its universal validity claim is globally well diffused, yet locally contested. Despite high recognition in the global realm, a norm’s impact never corresponds with its cover. It is as much a common sense among international lawyers that a norm’s acceptance grows with the degree of elusiveness, as it is a shared wisdom among International Relations (IR) theorists that a norm’s acceptance depends on social recognition. This is unlikely to change. Universal validity claims never fit seamlessly in environments where they stand to be implemented. They are continuously challenged through the mobilisation of particularistic validity claims. How contested meanings of norms play out thus remains a central issue of global governance. While there is a growing IR literature taking into account cultural background experience, this literature remains notably silent on norms. This has left a gap between norms as a subject of legal studies and the cultural generation of knowledge as a subject of sociology or cultural studies. This chapter proposes a framework for norms research to account for these everyday practices.
Edited by Anthony F. Lang and Antje Wiener
Anthony F. Lang, Jr. and Antje Wiener
This chapter provides an introduction and framework to the volume. It provides a historical overview of constitutional thought and highlights the four principles of constitutionalism: rule of law, separation of powers, constituent power, and rights. It demonstrates the ways in which this history and these principles are relevant for global constitutionalism. It argues that a practice-based approach to global constitutionalism provides space for contestation of the traditional liberal history and principles of constitutional thought, highlighting new ways in which this idea can be understood and assessed.