Michael A. Wilkinson: “Authoritarian Liberalism and the Transformation of Modern Europe: Introduction”

This paper is the introductory chapter to Authoritarian Liberalism and the Transformation of Modern Europe (OUP 2021). The book recounts the transformation of Europe from the interwar era until the euro crisis, using the tools of constitutional analysis and critical theory. Interwar liberalism, rocked by mass politics and social inequality,…

Birgit Aasa presents at the conference “The Rule of Law Crisis in Europe – Historical and Procedural Aspects” in Lund

On 29 September Birgit Aasa presents her paper on “Mutual Trust and the Rule of Law” at the conference “The Rule of Law Crisis in Europe – Historical and Procedural Aspects” in Lund. In case you want to know more about the paper and Birgit’s research, you can get…

Interview with Urska Sadl on entering EU legal academia from a post-communist country and the EUI of today

This interview follows up on our Third IMAGINE Workshop “Freedom and power of European constitutional scholarship”, where Urska Sadl chaired one of the panels. Urska is widely known as a scholar who has brought empirical methods to the study of the European Court of Justice. We have talked about…

Forthcoming events in autumn 2021

In the forthcoming autumn, we are going to continue with our online Speakers Series and Reading Group. Most importantly, the four national workshops will take place. Stay tuned.

Third IMAGINE Workshop, Freedom and power of European constitutional scholarship

Constitutional law scholarship has always been close to public power. Constitutional lawyers have contributed to the legitimacy of the State, supported its transformations and influenced or served those in power through their arguments and positions about constitutional law. EU constitutional scholarship is not an exception. The Third IMAGINE workshop analysed…

Interview with Nicholas Haagensen on the legal imaginaries of EU lawyers and the Eurocrisis

Welcome to the third podcast brought to you by the IMAGINE Project, run by Professor Jan Komarek and hosted at the iCourts Centre of Excellence for International Courts, University of Copenhagen. IMAGINE works on the Intellectual History of European Constitutional Imaginaries. Today, we will talk to another postdoc working at…

Michal Krajewski on Wojciech Sadurski’s Poland’s Constitutional Breakdown

Wojciech Sadurski has set for his latest book three goals: first, to provide a comprehensive account of the anti-constitutional populist backsliding in Poland; second, to explain its causes in a country ‘widely, and justifiably, applauded for its achievements in democratic consolidation, human rights, and judicial independence’ (p. vi); and third,…

Jan Komárek and Joseph Weiler on “The Transformation of Europe”

1 June 2020, EUI Law Department, EU Law Working Group, Jan Komárek presented (online) paper Why read The Transformation of Europe today? On Transformation’s constitutional imaginary, Joseph Weiler commentator. Video from the seminar.

Signe Rehling Larsen: “Varieties of Constitutionalism in the European Union”

The underlying assumption of constitutional pluralism, one of the dominant theories of EU legal scholarship, is a fundamental constitutional homogeneity amongst the EU Member States allowing for harmonious co‐existence and ‘constitutional tolerance’. This article challenges this assumption by demonstrating that the EU is characterised by a fundamental constitutional heterogeneity. It…

Jan Komárek: Political economy in the European constitutional imaginary – moving beyond Fiesole

Contribution to the online symposium on Poul F. Kjær (ed), The Law of Political Economy: Transformations in the Function of Law (CUP 2020), published at Verfassungsblog on 4 September 2020. The volume seeks to re-connect law and political economy, both understood in very broad terms. My contribution provides…

Interview with Alexander Somek on being a European legal academic

This interview follows up on our Third IMAGINE Workshop “Freedom and power of European constitutional scholarship”, where Alexander Somek (Professor of Legal Philosophy, University of Vienna Faculty of Law) gave an introductory paper. Jan Komárek talks with Somek about what it means to be a “legal academic”, how…

IMAGINE Panel and a working group at ICON-S Mundo Conference

Exploring European constitutional imaginary‘s OTHER This panel brings together the team of people working on the ERC-funded project IMAGINE – European Constitutional Imaginaries: Utopias, Ideologies and the Other. We will discuss the key assumptions of the project and specific case studies focused on how the constitutional imaginaries of Europe have…

Birgit Aasa and Michał Krajewski present at the EUI conference on The Rule of Law in the EU: Consensus and Discontent

On Thursday, 10 June Birgit Aasa will present her paper on ‘Mutual Trust and Rule of Law in the EU – an Uneasy Relationship’, the following day Michał Krajewski will talk on ‘The Many Faces of the Rule of Law: The Assets of EU Extra-Judicial Review Mechanisms’. Details…

The legitimacy of European constitutional orders: Questioning the revolutionary, establishment and elite pathways

Due illness, Jan Komárek only delivered (in writing) his paper “From legitimacy to ideology: towards ideology critique of European constitutionalism” at the conference The legitimacy of European constitutional orders: Questioning the revolutionary, establishment and elite pathways, held on 24-28 May 2021 at the Faculty of Law, University of Trento…

Jan Komárek presented IMAGINE to the Gothenburg University EU Law Discussion Group

Thorben Klünder on “Provisional Legal Concepts – Linguistic change of early European Law”

The presentation explores the language of early European Law: The negotiators of the ECSC Treaty imagined inventing a new legal form of international cooperation. The word they came up with was ‘supranationality’. This neologism served as the starting signal for a fierce competition for semantics, and the semantic field connected…

Jan Komárek presented IMAGINE to the Irish EU law working group (Trinity College Dublin)

The Working Group is generously funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission via the Jean Monnet Chair in EU Politics and Law and the EUROGOV Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, both at Trinity College Dublin. Meeting was chaired by Stephen Coutts.

Jan Komárek discussing “Supremacy Scorned? EU law supremacy after three ultra vires judgments”

Link to the podcast @ De Nederlandse Vereniging voor Europees Recht. Is EU law still supreme? Most national high courts have formulated some limits on the absolute supremacy claimed by EU law. Only three courts so far have actually declared an EU act to be ultra vires, openly denying…

Marina Bán and Michał Krajewski discussed the book Constitutionalism under Stress: Essays in Honour of Wojciech Sadurski

Marina Bán and Michał Krajewski discussed the book Constitutionalism under Stress: Essays in Honour of Wojciech Sadurski.

Petr Agha presented “The Forgotten Voices of the Velvet Revolution(s)” at Dissenting Voices seminar, Jan Komárek commented

Petr Agha presented “The Forgotten Voices of the Velvet Revolution(s)” at a webinar organised as part of  ‘Dissenting Voices. European thought between tradition and rupture’, Jan Komárek commented.

Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives

We met colleagues from EuroStorie: the Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives, based at the University of Helsinki (funded by the Academy of Finland) and led by Kaius Tuori, the author of a fascinating new book, Empire of Law: Nazi Germany, Exile Scholars and…

Mitchell A. Orenstein and Bojan Bugaric on Work, family, Fatherland: the political economy of populism in central and Eastern Europe

Since 2008, Hungary and Poland have developed a distinctive populist economic program, which has begun to spread to other Central and East European Countries (CEECs). This article develops a theory of the political economy of populism in CEECs, arguing that these countries’ dependence on foreign capital constrained them to follow…

The Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law & Politics and IMAGINE Workshop on interdisciplinary legal studies

Juan A. Mayoral, holder of the EUPoLex Chair, provided participants with insight into the design and implementation of interviews. Here interviews are used to provide an empirically based understanding of the social fabric in which legal practices are embedded and of the very impact of the law in…

“Legal Epistemic Authority in Poland. Development and Dynamics 1982-2020”

Today we met Michał Paździora and Michał Stambulski, who are about to start a fascinating project on Legal Epistemic Authority in Poland. Development and Dynamics 1982-2020 funded by the Polish National Science Centre.

Jan Komárek presented IMAGINE to colleagues in Brno

Jan Komárek presented our project to the working group on constitutional law at the Faculty of Law, Masaryk University in Brno (online).

The Academic Forum of the New University – Revitalization of EU Constitutionalism

14 December, The Academic Forum of the New University: Revitalization of EU Constitutionalism, Jan Komárek discussed (with Gráinne de Búrca and Neil Walker) Matej Abelj’s IMAGINE Working Paper No. 9; video from the Forum…

Interview with Marina Bán on Historical constitution of Hungary

Welcome to the podcast brought to you by the IMAGINE Project, run by Professor Jan Komárek and hosted at the iCourts Centre of Excellence for International Courts, University of Copenhagen. IMAGINE works on the Intellectual History of European Constitutional Imaginaries. In this podcast, Marina Ban – a post-doc working with…

Michal Krajewski on The End of the Liberal Mind: Poland’s New Politics and Petr Agha on The Light that Failed A Reckoning

Michal Krajewski presented to us The End of the Liberal Mind: Poland’s New Politics and Petr Agha The Light that Failed A Reckoning. …

Jan Komárek and Petr Agha presenting at The East-West Divide – Growing Tensions in the EU? 

Online symposium organized by the Studio Europa Maastricht, Jan Komárek gave a paper on “Speaking of and for the Other: (Post-)communist Europe in European constitutional imaginaries” and Petr Agha on “The forgotten voices of the Velvet Revolution(s)”…

Jan Komárek talked about the application process to get an ERC Starting Grant

27 November 2020, Jan Komárek shared his experience with the process of working on the application and applying for the ERC Starting Grant with researchers from the Czech Academy of Sciences…

The Second IMAGINE Workshop – Constitutional Imaginaries of Europe in Comparative History

The Second IMAGINE Workshop: Constitutional Imaginaries of Europe in Comparative History, with our guests Natasha Wheatley, Balázs Trencsényi and Michal Kopeček. Programme available here (pdf).

Jan Komárek on “Freedom and power of the constitutional professoriat: professors as politicians, businessmen and public intellectuals”

11 November, Faculty of Law, Charles University in Prague, Faculty Night Festival (online), Jan Komárek gave a talk on “Freedom and power of the constitutional professoriat: professors as politicians, businessmen and public intellectuals”. Video from the talk.

Jenny Orlando Skaerbaek on Natasha Wheatley’s Law, Time, and Sovereignty in Central Europe: Imperial Constitutions, Historical Rights, and the Afterlives of Empire

Jenny Orlando Skaerbaek presented to us Natasha Wheatley’s Law, Time, and Sovereignty in Central Europe: Imperial Constitutions, Historical Rights, and the Afterlives of Empire. …

Marina Ban on ‘A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe’

23 September 2020, online: IMAGINE reading group – Marina Ban presented to us A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe (Oxford University Press 2016, 2018)…

Petr Agha and Jan Komárek presented at the workshop “The Czech Century in law and politics”

16 September, Faculty of Law, Charles University in Prague, workshop (in Czech, online) České století v právu a politice [The Czech Century in law and politics], Jan Komárek presented paper “Vídeň-Moskva-Brusel-„Západ“: O nesamozřejmé české státnosti” [Vienna-Moscow-Brussels-“The West”: On the non-self-evident Czech statehood] and Petr Agha “Vzpomínka na hranice – patos, politika a populismus”…

Jan Komárek on “Why read The Transformation of Europe today?”

1 June 2020, EUI Law Department, EU Law Working Group, Jan Komárek presented (online) paper Why read The Transformation of Europe today? On Transformation’s constitutional imaginary, Joseph Weiler commentator; Video from the seminar. Final version of the paper presented.

Jan Komárek on “Why read The Transformation of Europe today?”

20 May 2020, WZB Berlin, Center for Global Constitutionalism, Jan Komárek presented paper Why read The Transformation of Europe today? On Transformation’s constitutional imaginary …

‘What is Intellectual History?’ and ‘Europe since 1989: A History’

12 March 2020, iCourts/online: IMAGINE reading group – we discussed Peter Gordon’s essay ‘What is Intellectual History?’ and Philipp Ther’s book Europe since 1989: A History (Princeton University Press 2016).

Jan Komárek on “Why read The Transformation of Europe today?”

25 February 2020, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Jan Komárek presented paper Why read The Transformation of Europe today? On Transformation’s ideology and utopia…

Jan Komárek on “The rule of law and liberal legalism in (the post-communist) Europe”

14 and 15 November 2019, The Swedish Network for European Legal Studies, Stockholm, conference 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Rule of Law in the European Union (programme-pdf), Jan Komárek presented paper The rule of law and liberal legalism in (the post-communist) Europe). Abstract: 1989 opened the possibility to…

Jan Komárek on “European constitutionalism: Towards an ‘ideology critique’” and “Crisis Politics and the Judiciary”

3 and 4 October 2019, Danish European Community Studies Annual Conference,  Aarhus University, Jan Komárek presented paper European constitutionalism: Towards an ‘ideology critique’ and participated in the round table discussion “Crisis Politics and the Judiciary”, together with Christian Joerges (kick-off speech), Hagen Schulz-Forberg (moderator) and Karen Alter and Graham Butler  (other panelists) (programme here).

Jan Komárek on “Transformative Constitutionalism in India and the EU”

19-20 September 2019, IEARN workshop, Giessen – Transformative Constitutionalism in India and the EU, Jan Komárek contributed with a discussion note (programme here-pdf);…

Jan Komárek discussed with Alexandra Kemmerer “Futures Past of European Constitutional Imaginaries”

25 June 2019, European Law School, Berlin, Jan Komárek presented  – with Alexandra Kemmerer (Max-Planck-Institut) “Futures Past of European Constitutional Imaginaries in the 1950s and 1990s: A Dialogical Exploration” (programme here – pdf).

Jan Komárek on IMAGINE at the Mountain Seminar 2019

12-15 June 2019, Mountain Seminar No. 3 – Jan Komárek presented the key ideas of IMAGINE to colleagues from the Mountain Seminar Society (programme here – pdf);…

Jan Komárek on “Constitutional Imaginaries: Utopias, Ideologies and the Other” at fEUtures conference

3-4 June 2019, fEUtures conference, Roskilde University, Trajectories and Imaginaries of European integration – Jan Komárek presented (via Skype) paper Constitutional Imaginaries: Utopias, Ideologies and the Other (programme here-pdf).

Lecture Series – Rethinking Law, Democracy and Capitalism

… as related to inequality, the rise of populism and the wider skepticism of the liberal order that governed domestic and global politics of Europe. The lecture series was produced as a collaboration between iCourts – the Centre of Excellence for International Courts and CEMES – the Centre for Modern European Studies…

The First IMAGINE Workshop

In November 2018, the conference EU Constitutional Imagination: Between Ideology and Utopia unofficially opened works on the ERC-funded project which deals with European constitutional imaginaries. To this workshop, which is the first in a series to be organised in the context of IMAGINE, we have invited scholars who have…

Jan Komárek presented IMAGINE to Emile Noël Fellows (NYU School of Law)

26 April 2019, NYU School of Law, Jean Monnet Center – Jan Komárek presented the key ideas of IMAGINE to Emile Noël Fellows.

Jan Komárek on “European constitutionalism: Towards an ‘ideology critique’” at Yale Law School

25 April 2019, Yale Law School, The Law and Political Economy (LPE) Project and the European Law Working Group – Jan Komárek presented paper European constitutionalism: Towards an ‘ideology critique’.

International conference EU Constitutional Imagination: Between Ideology and Utopia

Our IMAGINE project (unofficially) started already in November 2018, at a conference kindly supported by iCourts and co-funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and the Dreyers Fund. Conference volume will be published by the Oxford University Press in 2021. Links to the videos from the conference (YouTube): I.      CONSTITUTIONAL…

The Transformation of Europe: Twenty-Five Years On – Book launch and critical assessment

At this seminar we have discussed the book The Transformation of Europe: Twenty-Five Years On edited by Miguel Poiares Maduro and Marlene Wind (Cambridge University Press 2017). Programme of the event. Related IMAGINE Working Paper No. 10: Why read The Transformation of Europe today? On the limits…

Marco Dani and Agustin José Menéndez: “European Constitutional Imagination: A Whig Interpretation of the Process of European Integration?”

In this essay, we challenge the characterisation of European law as a constitutional order from two related standpoints, namely, the ambiguity of what is meant when characterising European law as constitutional, and the lack of a well-argued narrative explaining how European law became constitutional and what type of constitutionalism it…

Jiří Přibáň: “European Constitutional Imaginaries: On Pluralism, Calculemus, Imperium and Communitas”

This chapter draws on the theory of societal constitutionalism to analyse polysemy and polyvalence of the European constitutional imaginaries. It argues that European constitutional imaginaries have to be distinguished from the imagination of EU constitutional theory as much as European political ideologies and utopias. They spontaneously evolve in European society…

Matej Avbelj: “Revitalisation of EU Constitutionalism”

This article argues that, despite the negative historical experience, nothing in the nature of constitutionalism as a concept stands in the way of the European Union (EU) eventually adopting a constitution, and so turning its tacit and silent constitutionalism into an explicit project. Furthermore, the past crises of European integration,…

Jan Komárek: “Rethinking constitutionalism and democracy . . . again?”

This is a review essay on three recently published books that seek to rethink constitutionalism and democracy in the context of European integration. The books are: Dieter Grimm, The Constitution of European Democracy (Oxford: OUP 2017), Athanasios Psygkas, From the “Democratic Deficit” to a “Democratic Surplus”: Constructing Administrative Democracy in…

Writing PhD with Professor Jan Komárek

You can write a PhD with Professor Komárek as part of iCourts Doctoral Programme. You can expect the next call for applications to open in the autumn of 2021 (the deadline is usually on 1 December, but please check for this year if…

Signe Rehling Larsen: “The European Union as ‘Militant Democracy’?”

In response to the rise of authoritarianism in Poland and Hungary, several prominent scholars have called upon the EU to intervene in order to protect its constitutional values. One of the strongest albeit controversial arguments in favour of an intervention is that the EU is a form of transnational ‘militant…

Hjalte Lokdam: “The Ideological Shade of the Constitutional Order: Public Law and Political Economy in the Eurozone”

This paper argues that the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) created at Maastricht conformed to the neoliberal theory of interstate federalism in seeking to constitute structural conditions that circumscribed the effective exercise of activist public authority at both the Member State and European level. A response to a perceived ‘crisis…

Claudia Sternberg: “Ideologies and imaginaries of legitimacy from the 1950s to today”

This chapter traces changes in EU-official discourse around EU legitimacy since the 1950s, relating them to the trajectory described by Pierre Rosanvallon in Democratic Legitimacy (2011a). Accordingly, the legitimacy of modern democracies broke down in the 1980s owing to a loss of faith in its two main foundations in elections…

Peter L. Lindseth: “The Constitutional Imaginary and the ‘Metabolic’ Realities of European Integration”

Understanding the European Union (EU) as an autonomously constitutional entity—what this volume evocatively calls the EU’s ‘constitutional imaginary’—has been central to judicial decision-making and legal scholarship on European governance over many decades. If our aim, however, is to understand what European governance actually is, rather than what the dominant discourse…

Paul Linden Retek: “Constitutional Patriotism as Europe’s Public Philosophy? On the Responsiveness of Post-National Law”

This paper scrutinizes Jürgen Habermas’s concept of constitutional patriotism—and its basis in his discourse theory of democracy and law—as the substance of a European public philosophy. Drawing on critical theorists’ reception of the concept and Habermas’s own contemporary writings on Europe’s crisis, I reconstruct constitutional patriotism from the analytic perspective…

Jan Komárek: “Why read The Transformation of Europe today? On the limits of a liberal constitutional imaginary”

This article argues that reading Transformation today may help us understand the limits of liberal constitutional imaginary, on which Transformation builds and which it helped to establish in the 1990s. Now, when ‘Western liberalism’ is on retreat, such critical reading may be indispensable for those who look for alternatives. The…

Matej Avbelj: “Revitalization of EU Constitutionalism”

Imaginary is both a goal and a map charting the path to that ideally imagined socio-political construction. Ideas matter and, indeed, human beings make things with words, especially in the social reality, but there is no direct or linear trajectory between the concepts, on which a given imaginary is built,…

Fernanda Nicola and Jeff Miller: “The Failure to Grapple with Racial Capitalism in European Constitutionalism”

Since the 1980s prominent scholars of European legal integration have used the example of U.S. constitutionalism to promote a federal vision for the European Community. These scholars, drawing lessons from developments across the Atlantic, concluded that the U.S. Supreme Court had played a key role in fostering national integration and…

Anotoine Vauchez: “When Scholarship Matters: Theory-Building and Theory Effects in the EU Polity Context”

I welcome Jan Komárek’s project to engage in a history of “European Constitutional Imaginaries” as seen through EU law landmark theories and most prominent authors. Some malicious minds would think of it as yet another avatar of the “scholastic bias” that structurally incites us scholars to transform our professional anxieties…

Hugo Canihac: “From Constitutional Pyramid to Constitutional Pluralism: The Transformation of the European Constitutional Imaginary in Context”

This paper explores the recent history of the European constitutional imaginary. It argues that the constitutional imaginary that solidified during the early decades of European integration has been deeply challenged in the 1990s, with the emergence of a body of thought known as ‘constitutional pluralism’. In order to do so,…

Amnon Lev: “The Imaginary and the Unconscious: Situating Constitutional Pluralism”

The article interrogates Neil Walker’s theory of constitutional pluralism in order to bring out the importance of ideas for how we theorise the EU legal order. To that end, the article introduces two conceptual tools or prisms, the imaginary and the unconscious. The first part of the article situates Walker’s…

Michael Wilkinson”: On the New German Ideology”

Postwar Europe is partly reconstituted by a fear of democratic freedom, and a desire for political and economic stability. Constitutional relations are transformed over time through a mixture of political authoritarianism and economic liberalism. This takes place in a combination of domestic and supranational developments. The transformation also has a…

Jan Komárek: “Rethinking constitutionalism and democracy . . . again?

Author’s version of a review article published in (2019) 17 International Journal of Constitutional Law 992–1005 This is a review essay on three recently published books that seek to rethink constitutionalism and democracy in the context of European integration. The books are: Dieter Grimm, The Constitution of European Democracy…

Alexander Somek and Jakob Rendl: “Messianism, Exodus, and the Empty Signifier of European Integration”

In most his most recent accounts of European integration, J.H.H. Weiler claims that Europe was built with Messianic fervor. After the destruction and evil wrought by the Second World War, Europe was supposed to be a ‘promised land’. The article examines how Weiler conflates the narrative of the exodus with…

Jan Komárek: “European Constitutional Imaginaries: Utopias, Ideologies and the Other”

This paper outlines the conceptual background to a broader intellectual project that aims to study ‘European Constitutional Imaginaries’. These are understood as ideas that stand behind various conceptualisations of the EU constitution, produced by EU constitutional lawyers and theorists. The paper first explains the concept and identifies the gap in…

Interview about IMAGINE with Jan Komárek (by Michał Krajewski)

Welcome to the first podcast brought to you by the IMAGINE Project, run by Professor Jan Komarek and hosted at the iCourts Centre of Excellence for International Courts.