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Comparative Constitutional Law as a Social Science? A Hegelian Reaction to Ran Hirschl's Comparative Matters

20 Pages Posted: 3 May 2016  

Armin von Bogdandy

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

Date Written: April 11, 2016

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

von Bogdandy, Armin, Comparative Constitutional Law as a Social Science? A Hegelian Reaction to Ran Hirschl's Comparative Matters (April 11, 2016). Der Staat, 55 (2016), 103–115; Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2016-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2773738

Armin Von Bogdandy (Contact Author)

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law ( email )

Im Neuenheimer Feld 535
69120 Heidelberg, 69120
Germany

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