The Tradition of the Material Constitution in Western Marxism

Forthcoming in Marco Goldoni and Michael A. Wilkinson (eds) The Cambridge Handbook on the Material Constitution (Cambridge University Press, 2022)

LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 02/2022

26 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2022

See all articles by Marco Goldoni

Marco Goldoni

University of Glasgow - Faculty of Law & Financial Studies

Michael A. Wilkinson

London School of Economics - Law School

Date Written: March 21, 2022

Abstract

The aims of this paper are, first, to track the development of the notion of the material constitution in selected authors associated with Western Marxism and, second, to explain its intermittent presence in the Marxist canon. The paper focuses on four turning points in the social and intellectual history of the material constitution: its Marxist origins in the second half of the 19th century (Karl Marx and Ferdinand Lassalle, who coined the term); the crucial years of the Soviet revolution and the First World War (Vladimir Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg); the interwar period (Antonio Gramsci); and the tail end of the 20th century (√Čtienne Balibar and Antonio Negri). At each turning point, a certain slack between the concrete constitutional order and the codified or written constitution has pushed scholars to revisit the material constitution. Although the paper registers the decline of interest in the material constitution after the Second World War, it also underscores the series of crises over the last two decades which have seen the notion return to the centre stage of constitutional enquiry. The paper thus highlights the insights offered by Marxist authors to grasp the material constitution in the 21st century.

Suggested Citation

Goldoni, Marco and Wilkinson, Michael A., The Tradition of the Material Constitution in Western Marxism (March 21, 2022). Forthcoming in Marco Goldoni and Michael A. Wilkinson (eds) The Cambridge Handbook on the Material Constitution (Cambridge University Press, 2022), LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 02/2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4069547 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4069547

Marco Goldoni

University of Glasgow - Faculty of Law & Financial Studies ( email )

Glasgow, Scotland
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/law/staff/marcogoldoni/#tabs=0

Michael A. Wilkinson (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Law School ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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