The Pouvoir Constituant in Times of Transition - A Comment on Andrew Arato and Philipp Dann

Demokratie in der Weltgesellschaft, Soziale Welt, No. 18, 2008

15 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2008 Last revised: 23 Jul 2008

Alexandra Kemmerer

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

Abstract

The legal concept of the pouvoir constituant is in transition. In current processes of constitution-making under external influence, new constellations and new actors emerge. However, from the international lawyer's point(s) of view, there is today no such thing as an internationalized pouvoir constituant. In our times of transition, there is (and ought to be), as ever, a people, a demos at the core of constitution-making, striving for individual and collective autonomy and self-determination. Therefore, external influence must be exercised not only in a sophisticated manner, but also with restraint. Constitution-making by compulsion or imposition, be it ever so benevolent, is nothing more than imperialism disguised in democracy-talk. Conflicts of the self-interest of an external actor and the interests of the respective nation should be avoided by all means, even when merely procedural influence is exercised. In the end, only multilateralism, the participation of an "international community" and its actors, might resolve the riddle of all externally influenced constitutions.

The paper, which originated as a comment at the conference "Democracy in the World Society" (Flensburg, June 2007), discusses two important contributions to the debate, by Andrew Arato and Philipp Dann - and brings two absent interlocutors into the conference room: Hannah Arendt and Hans Kelsen.

Suggested Citation

Kemmerer, Alexandra, The Pouvoir Constituant in Times of Transition - A Comment on Andrew Arato and Philipp Dann. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1147018

Alexandra Kemmerer (Contact Author)

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law ( email )

Im Neuenheimer Feld 535
69120 Heidelberg, 69120
Germany

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