Comparative Constitutional Law as a Social Science? A Hegelian Reaction to Ran Hirschl's Comparative Matters
Der Staat, 55 (2016), 103–115
20 Pages Posted: 3 May 2016
Date Written: April 11, 2016
This contribution reviews Ran Hirschl’s book “Comparative Matters” to discuss the discipline of comparative constitutional law. It contrasts his social science approach, informed by comparative politics, with a more lawyerly approach he very much critiques. The latter considers law above all as a phenomenon distinguished by intersubjectivity and normativity, directed at the understanding of normative, validity claiming acts as well as the construction and maintenance of normative meaning. This approach stands in contrast to Hirschl’s approach, which derives from political economy and aims at social-scientific explanation. This contribution questions whether and how causal identification is possible in such complex phenomena as comparative constitutionalism. It also points out that the challenges confronting inner-European comparison are to be distinguished from those of the global comparative law at which Hirschl aims.
Keywords: Comparative law, comparative constitutional law, comparative politics, methods of comparative law, G.W.F. Hegel, Ran Hirschl
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