52 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
This essay examines the contemporary controversy concerning democratic sovereignty in a new age and under conditions of nascent legal cosmopolitanism. I contrast the mainly negative conclusions drawn by some political theorists about the possibility of reconciling democratic sovereignty with a transnational legal order to the utopianism of contemporary legal scholarship that projects varieties of global constitutionalism with or without the state. I argue that transnational human rights norms strengthen rather than weaken democratic sovereignty, and name processes through which rights-norms are contextualized in polities „democratic iterations.‟ The challenge is to think beyond the binarisms of the cosmopolitan versus the civic republican; democratic versus the international and transnational; democratic sovereignty versus human rights law. The final sections of the paper focus on the dilemmas of an “authorship model of democratic legitimacy” in the face of post-Westphalian developments.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Benhabib, Seyla, Democratic Sovereignty and Transnational Law. On Legal Utopianism and Democratic Skepticism (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2455436