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 33: Constitutionalism and pluralism

Neil Walker


Constitutionalism presupposes one authoritative frame for the political domain, paradigmatically shaped as the state. Yet notions of unity, closure and hierarchy contrast with the diversity, unsettlement and heterarchical accommodation associated with political pluralism. The tensions between formal unity and material pluralism capture much that is distinctive of constitutionalism today. The chapter examines two ways that constitutional practice entertains political pluralism, namely, within a single constitutional order through ‘plural constitutionalism’, and between constitutional orders through ‘constitutional pluralism’. The chapter also addresses the (dis)continuity between these approaches. To what extent can we view these as the product of a single ‘constitutional ethic’?

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