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,…

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…

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…