Book Review : A. Somek 'Individualism' (OUP 2008)

European Law Review 2009, 34(2), 333-336

3 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2014

Date Written: December 1, 2008


If legal scholarship can be literary this is how Alexander Somek's “Individualism” should be described, a beautiful piece of work written in a style that stuns even the driest EC lawyer with its elegance -- a joy for the eye and not the least the mind. Somek takes us back to Plato, Hegel and De Tocqueville and tells the story of post-constitutionalism in the European Union. This is the journey of the individual; it explains how competence issues within the Union have arisen and how they should be understood and solved. Individualism guides the reader through the complex history of the notoriously open-ended provision of Art. 95 EC and the constitutional debate on harmonisation via the classically heated subjects of subsidiarity and proportionality to the question of constitutionalism as such and ends even more gracefully in a discussion of Europe's true soul. It is here that the main theme of the book emerges, namely, why citizenship of the European Union holds the answer to the constitutional mystique of the Union. But let's not tell the story too hastily but begin this publication review by explaining why this book is particularly worth reading.

Suggested Citation

Herlin-Karnell, Ester, Book Review : A. Somek 'Individualism' (OUP 2008) (December 1, 2008). European Law Review 2009, 34(2), 333-336. Available at SSRN:

Ester Herlin-Karnell (Contact Author)

Uppsala University ( email )

Box 513
Uppsala, 751 20

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics