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 17: Constituent power in global constitutionalism

Peter Niesen


Against global constitutionalism’s eclipse of the notion of constituent power, I suggest that the notion is necessary, plausible and useful in its having an explanatory, a critical-restrictive and an empowering function. I first show that problems from ‘constituent usurpation’ arise for domestic as well as for supra-state constitutions. I then focus on the European Union and the candidates that have been proposed as its pouvoirs constituants in demoi-cratic, regional cosmopolitan, and pouvoir constituant mixte accounts. I argue that allocations of constituent power in global constitutionalism will be most relevant in a reconstructive and transformational, not a foundational, perspective but that in some cases dissident social movements may find it useful to adopt the notion.

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