Handbook on Global Constitutionalism
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Handbook on Global Constitutionalism

Edited by Anthony F. Lang and Antje Wiener

This Handbook introduces scholars and students to the history, philosophy, and evidence of global constitutionalism. Contributors provide their insights from law, politics, international relations, philosophy, and history, drawing on diverse frameworks and empirical data sets. Across them all, however, is a recognition that the international order cannot be understood without an understanding of constitutional theory. The Handbook will define this field of inquiry for the next generation by bringing together some of the leading contemporary scholars.
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Chapter 8: Liberal theory

Iain Ferguson


Liberal political and legal theory has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence since the mid-twentieth century. The emergence of global constitutional thought is closely coupled with its rise to prominence. Yet many theorists of global constitutionalism are wary of acknowledging their ‘liberal’ commitments. This chapter makes the case that at the deepest level of interpretation, prominent theorists of global constitutionalism are ‘liberals’ in all but name. Through a double critique of the liberal foundations of their thought, an argument is advanced that there are unanswered questions about the best way of understanding and grounding a global constitutional order beyond liberal theory.

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