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Daniel Bonilla Maldonado

The chapter describes and analyses the conceptual structure of the principle of separation of powers. As a consequence, it describes and analyzes its premises, the basic concepts it constructs, the particular type of subject it creates, and the notions of time and space it forms. The chapter is divided into four sections. The first section presents the key components of the current dominant interpretation of the principle separation of powers. The second section explores the concept of subject constructed by the principle of separation of powers. It constructs a collective subject, the State, which is anthropomorphized and presented as a victimizer and an individual subject, an abstract individual that is articulated as a victim of the collective subject. The third section of the chapter, studies the notion of time constructed by the principle of separation of powers. The concept of time has two dimensions. The first is the circular and infinite notion of time in which the principle operates. The second is the notion of time that intersects with the idea of social change that overlaps with the principle of separation of powers. The fourth and last section of the chapter examines the concept of space constructed by the principle of separation of powers. The conceptual geography elaborated by the principle has multiple levels. The primary one is that of the nation-state. Nevertheless, the space of the principle also has dimensions that are internal and external to this way of thinking about the organization of a political community.

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Daniel Bonilla Maldonado

This chapter argues that the production, exchange, and use of legal knowledge are subject to a political economy. These processes, Bonilla explains, are governed by a series of rules and principles that determine the conditions of possibility for the creation of, commerce in, and consumption of legal theory, doctrine and practices. For Bonilla, this political economy is not neutral. It constructs a specific subject of knowledge that acts within a particular space and time. This chapter therefore has a double objective. On the one hand, it seeks to describe and analyze the political economy model that dominates the contemporary legal imagination. In this sense, it seeks to examine the conceptual structure of what Bonilla calls the free market of legal ideas model. This is the model that typically serves to explain the prevalence of U.S. constitutionalism in Latin America. On the other hand, it seeks to describe and analyze an alternative, peripheral political economy model that would best explain the real dynamics that regulate the creation, trade, and use of legal knowledge. To reach this objective, Bonilla sheds light on the conceptual structures that form what he calls the colonial model of legal knowledge production. In practice, this is the model that regulates key components of the relationships between Latin American and U.S. constitutionalism.

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Daniel Bonilla Maldonado

Abstract The Ecuadorian and Bolivian multicultural and environmental constitutions are structured around three elements: the principles of plurinationality and interculturality, the rights of nature, and the principle of buen vivir. These three elements are innovatively articulated and creatively linked in these two political charters. No other modern constitution has included and connected this set of principles and rights and has given such an important place to indigenous groups’ epistemologies. These rights and principles constitute an imaginative contribution to the global discussion on cultural diversity, human rights, and the environment. They question the dominant political economy of legal knowledge that a priori considers the Global South as a poor context for the creation of valuable legal products. The contributions of the Ecuadorian and Bolivian constitutions, however, are not completely original, as some of their creators and promoters have stated. These innovations are variations constructed within the grammar of modern constitutionalism, e.g., reinterpretations of the concepts of nation, people, and culture. Some others, though, can be understood as starting from but going beyond the grammar of modern constitutionalism, e.g., the principle of buen vivir. This chapter describes and analyzes the three components of the Bolivian and Ecuadorian multicultural and environmental constitutions. First, it analyzes the idea that indigenous communities should be recognized as nations and the idea that the polity should be constructed through the interaction among its various cultural communities. The chapter then explores the Andean indigenous communities’ traditional ways of thinking about nature and its connections to the modern concept of rights. More precisely, it explores the idea that nature is a subject of rights. Finally, the chapter examines the way in which the principle of buen vivir conceives the relationship between human beings and nature.
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Edited by Colin Crawford and Daniel Bonilla Maldonado

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Daniel Bonilla Maldonado and Colin Crawford

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Edited by Colin Crawford and Daniel Bonilla Maldonado

Constitutionalism in the Americas unites the work of leading scholars of constitutional law, comparative law and Latin American and U.S. constitutional law to provide a critical and provocative look at the state of constitutional law across the Americas today. The diverse chapters employ a variety of methodologies – empirical, historical, philosophical and textual analysis – in the effort to provide a comprehensive look at a generation of constitutional change across two continents.