The Critique of Digital Constitutionalism

Global Constitutionalism (2023), 1-31. doi:10.1017/S2045381723000126

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2022-13

31 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2022 Last revised: 6 Sep 2023

See all articles by Angelo Golia

Angelo Golia

University of Trento; Luiss Guido Carli University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: March 21, 2022


This article analyses the critical potential of digital constitutionalism using the instruments provided by societal constitutionalism. The central argument is that, in order to address the challenges posed by new technologies, digital constitutionalism should embrace a more explicitly critical discourse, questioning several assumptions of liberal, state-centred constitutional theory. Digital constitutionalism could then be framed as a theory for the digital age and as an opportunity for a reckoning with the inner contradictions of modern constitutional theory. This article has three goals. First, linking different discourses within digital constitutionalism while highlighting its own critical potential. Second, offering some preliminary proposals based on such reflection. Third, bringing digital constitutionalism closer to the broader galaxy of global constitutionalism. After the introduction, section II offers an overview of societal constitutionalism, highlighting the elements of critique toward liberal, state-centred constitutionalism. Section III reconciles societal constitutionalism and digital constitutionalism, focusing on the latter’s definition and three functionally differentiated systems: politics, economy, law. For each of them, it highlights analytical and normative gains and points at proposals to be further developed. Section IV concludes.

Keywords: digital constitutionalism, constitutional theory, societal constitutionalism, legal pluralism, systems theory, liberal constitutionalism, critical theory, digital platforms, surveillance capitalism, platform economy, content moderation, Oversight Board

Suggested Citation

Golia, Angelo Jr, The Critique of Digital Constitutionalism (March 21, 2022). Global Constitutionalism (2023), 1-31. doi:10.1017/S2045381723000126, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2022-13, Available at SSRN: or

Angelo Jr Golia (Contact Author)

University of Trento ( email )

Via Giuseppe Verdi 26
Trento, Trento 38152

Luiss Guido Carli University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Viale Romania, 32
Rome, 00197

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