Imaginaries of Progress as Constitutional Imaginaries

Forthcoming in: Jan Komarek (Ed.), European Constitutional Imaginaries: Between ideology and utopia, OUP 2021.

Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2021-12

Amsterdam Centre for Transformative private law Working Paper No. 2021-02

17 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2021 Last revised: 6 Jul 2021

See all articles by Marija Bartl

Marija Bartl

Independent; University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Centre for Transformative Private Law (ACT)

Date Written: March 29, 2021

Abstract

This chapter explores the question of what renders imaginaries constitutional. Should we expect to find constitutional imaginaries in constitutional texts and doctrine? Or should we look for them elsewhere in our societies? While constitutional documents or conventions have occupied much of our political imagination, the truly constitutional imaginaries can be only those imaginaries that have actually shaped, or constituted, the ways in which we go about making and re-making our societies. I will argue that the two main constitutional imaginaries of modernity, that is the social imaginaries that have in fact shaped the deep structure of our societies, have always been presented to us as a story of progress. These imaginaries of progress, through directing individual and collective efforts and resources toward either private and collective route to progress, have not only shaped the way we think about constitutions, but also about economy, politics, government or law. In this chapter, I first explore the relation between social imaginaries and social change, after which I turn to developing the concept of imaginaries of progress. Subsequently, I trace the collective imaginary of progress behind the Weimar constitution and contrast it with the privatising imaginaries of progress underlying the European Constitution. I conclude with a reflection on the role of constitutional law and scholarship for social change.

Keywords: Social Imaginaries, Progress, Collective, Legal Imaginaries, Constitutionalism, Social change

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Bartl, Marija and Bartl, Marija, Imaginaries of Progress as Constitutional Imaginaries (March 29, 2021). Forthcoming in: Jan Komarek (Ed.), European Constitutional Imaginaries: Between ideology and utopia, OUP 2021., Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2021-12, Amsterdam Centre for Transformative private law Working Paper No. 2021-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3814875

Marija Bartl (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Centre for Transformative Private Law (ACT) ( email )

P.O. Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

Independent

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