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 article is structured as follows: Part 2 brielfy defines the concept of ‘constitutional imaginary’. Part 3 provides a brief genealogy of Transformation and offers a critical reading of the whole essay, which prepares grounds for Part 4, where Transformation’s constitutional imaginary based on liberal-legalist ideology combined with a communitarian utopia is outlined. It is shown how each of them contradicts the other, but at the same time, how none can exist without the other. Part 5 reveals what Transformation (and its imaginary) hides from sight: how its rendering of European integration’s history, reduced to the narrative of Europe’s founding fathers’ reflective choice for Europe, and the ignorance of political economy, overlooks the complex and complicated histories of the states that came to form the Union. The conclusion finally connects these findings to the current issues facing the EU and liberal constitutionalism as such.
You can download the working paper at the SSRN.