On Constitutions and Constitutional Theory

Forthcoming in R Bellamy and J King (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Constitutional Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2024)

24 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2023

See all articles by Richard Bellamy

Richard Bellamy

University College London - Department of Political Science

Jeff King

University College London - Faculty of Laws

Date Written: September 11, 2023

Abstract

This chapter starts by exploring three varieties of constitutional theory: normative, conceptual and positive. It then offers an account of the basic concept of a constitution, noting how it differs from its various conceptions. This section also defends the analytical structure of this volume into values, modalities and institutions as part of the basic concept of a constitution. The third section turns to constitutional norms, both written and unwritten, and their role within even a codified constitution. Finally, we look at the variety of constitutionalisms as a product of the essential contestability of the values, modalities and institutions of any conception of the constitution, be that conception theorised normatively, conceptually or positively (or draw on elements of all three approaches). This diversity is exemplified by the contrasting views of the contributors to this volume.

Keywords: constitutional theory, constitution - concept and conceptions, conventions, norms and principles, constitutionalism, essential contestability

Suggested Citation

Bellamy, Richard and King, Jeff, On Constitutions and Constitutional Theory (September 11, 2023). Forthcoming in R Bellamy and J King (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Constitutional Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2024), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4567856 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4567856

Richard Bellamy (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Political Science ( email )

Gower Street
London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=RBELL43

Jeff King

University College London - Faculty of Laws ( email )

Bentham House
Endsleigh Gardens
London WC1E OEG, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/people/prof-jeff-king

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