La costituzione materiale. Fattori ordinanti e rilevanza epistemologica

What is the material context of constitutional order? The purpose of this paper is to offer an answer to that question by sketching a theory of the material constitution. Distinguishing it from related approaches (sociological constitutionalism, Marxist constitutionalism, political jurisprudence) the paper outlines the basic elements of the material constitution, specifying its four ordering factors. These are political unity; a set of institutions; a network of social relations, and a set of fundamental political objectives. These factors provide the material substance and internal dynamic of the process of constitutional ordering. They are not external to the constitution but are a feature of juristic knowledge, standing in internal relation and tension with the formal constitution. Because these ordering factors are multiple, and in conflict with one another, there is no single determining factor of constitutional development. Neither is order as such guaranteed. The conflict that characterizes the modern human condition might but need not be internalised by the process of constitutional ordering. The theory of the material constitution offers an account of the basic elements of this process as well as its internal dynamic.

The Gifts of Synthesis: Integration and Constitutionalization

Review of: Agustin Menéndez, Erik John Fossum, The Constitution’s Gift. A Constitutional Theory for a Democratic European Union. (Lanham, ML, Rowman & Littlefield 2011) 303 p., ISBN 978-0-74255311-8.

Even though it cannot yet be compared to its American counterpart for quantity and quality, European constitutional theory is rapidly flourishing and it has almost developed into a genre with its own jargon and categories. This important book can be hailed as one of the most elaborated fruits of the season of European constitutional self-reflection. Given the much contested nature of the European Union as a political entity, constitutionalists have had to struggle in order to capture it and to explain its constitutional value. By not succumbing to the intoxicating rhetoric of the ‘sui generis’ polity, the authors engage with European constitutional history and theory with a view of clarifying what is the nature of the European polity, how to explain certain constitutional riddles like the supremacy principle and how to put forward principles in order to assess the legitimacy of this constitutional order. Overall, it is an extremely useful operation both for constitutional and European lawyers.

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