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 work in relation to the body of state-centric constitutional theory. It shows the steps Walker takes to attach his theory to past constitutionalisms, and it argues that the focus on theory leads him to blank out the question of state practice. The second part of the article considers the ideas and conceptual moves that pass from the body of constitutional theory to Walker’s theory. What the analysis brings into view is a stock of basic ideas, an imaginary around which Walker’s theory revolves. In the third part the article shows that the continuity between past and present formats of constitutional theory rests upon a determinate, and historically specific, intuition of political life. It argues that the changes Walker shall make to his theory can be explained in terms of the passing of a specific historical conjuncture, in which law could transcribe politics and keep economic rationality at bay.
You can download the working paper at the SSRN.