Grassroots Constitutional Politics in Iceland

11 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2012

See all articles by Paul Blokker

Paul Blokker

Charles University in Prague; Università di Bologna - Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna

Date Written: January 16, 2012


Iceland has recently embarked on an experimental form of constitution-making from below. Iceland is in this a rare – in distinct ways probably unique – example of a popular or citizen-driven constitutionalism. This participatory approach in many ways challenges core assumptions of mainstream, modernist understandings of constitutionalism, such as the idea of constitutionalism as a social phenomenon and practice dominated by legal professionals or that of constitutions as higher laws that are near to impossible to change. At the same time, the Icelandic experience brings to the fore many questions that popular or democratic constitutionalism raises as an alternative understanding and practice of constitutionalism, not least related to the modes and effectiveness of participation, the notion of representation in the constitution-making process, the role of deliberation, as well as the actual, substantive results of participatory constitution-making.

Keywords: Iceland, Constitution, Dissent, Politics, Revolution

Suggested Citation

Blokker, Paul, Grassroots Constitutional Politics in Iceland (January 16, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Paul Blokker (Contact Author)

Charles University in Prague ( email )

Celetná 13
Praha 1, 116 36
Czech Republic

Università di Bologna - Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna ( email )


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