Robert Cover's Narrative Approach to Constitutionalism
Italian Society for Law and Literature - Essays, Forthcoming
15 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2010
Date Written: February 15, 2010
This paper aims to prove that Robert Cover’s theory of narrative might play an important role for contemporary constitutionalism. In particular, it purports to show that the main insight of Cover’s legal philosophy should be found in the idea that meaning, and not authority or power, forms the basis for the legitimacy of a constitutional order. The proliferation of legal meanings is valuable in itself and it represents an enrichment of social life. Violence will unavoidably emerge as a necessary evil in order to let normative worlds flourish. Nonetheless, narrative plays a central role in Cover’s theory because it is the source of legal meaning. Therefore, constitutionalism itself should be thought as a narrative, among many others, especially committed to the reduction of violence.
Keywords: Robert Cover, Legal Narratives, Constitutionalism
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