Risk Management in the Digital Constellation – A Constitutional Perspective

37 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2017

Date Written: October 2017


The digital revolution is creating new risks, together with multiple opportunities for communication, commerce and political participation. What Ulrich Beck described as the world risk society, and – from another perspective – Jürgen Habermas calls the "postnational constellation" – is a challenge to our concepts of society and democracy. Digitisation is pushing this development towards a new dimension that allows us to speak of the "digital constellation". Social relations are denser across borders and continents; what happens abroad matters here, as if it were happening on our own doorstep. New kinds of risks are arising as a side-effect of the increasing use of information technologies, while the internet also offers – for the first time ever – an infrastructure that makes formerly unrealistic concepts of cosmopolitan democracy (David Held) a real option. This includes the establishment of a constitutional framework for normative processes aiming at, among other global challenges, effectively managing cyber-risks at national, supra-national and global levels in a coherent way. Multilevel Constitutionalism has been proposed as a means of providing a normative theory for conceptualising the constitutional structure of a layered system of governance that provides for a maximum degree of self-determination for the individual and, thus, for the democratic legitimacy of decisions made at each level, from local to global. Thus, the constitution for democratically legitimate action at the global level does not question democracy at other levels, but should be understood as complementary, based upon functioning states, and designed to deal with issues that are beyond their reach, including cyber-security.

Keywords: Digitisation, Multilevel Constitutionalism, Global Constitutionalism, Digital Constellation, Democracy, Risk Society, Risk Management, Legitimacy

Suggested Citation

Pernice, Ingolf, Risk Management in the Digital Constellation – A Constitutional Perspective (October 2017). HIIG Discussion Paper Series No. 2017-07, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3051124

Ingolf Pernice (Contact Author)

Humboldt University of Berlin ( email )

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, AK Berlin 10099

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