Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

I·CON Book Forum

The current issue of I·CON features an exchange between Alec Stone Sweet and Nico Krisch on Krisch’s recent book, Beyond Constitutionalism: The Pluralist Structure of Post-National Law. We are happy to provide free access to this exchange for I·CONnect readers and to invite you to join the discussion on this blog.

Click the titles to access the full-text papers:

Alec Stone Sweet, The Structure of constitutional pluralism: Review of Nico Krisch, Beyond Constitutionalism: The Pluralist Structure of Post-National Law

From the paper: “In clear and accessible prose, Beyond Constitutionalism (BC) develops a nuanced account of the structural features of global law from a wide range of carefully considered normative positions and empirical claims, and provides detailed case studies of pluralism in action. For readers of I·CON, I would regard it as essential reading. … I will make three points. First, Krisch’s conclusions are heavily dependent upon a theoretical construction—a supposed dichotomy between “constitutional” and “pluralist”—that is, in fact, a false one. Second, “constitutional pluralism” is a structural feature of the national legal orders to which BC pays the most attention (European), belying the dichotomy. Third, the case studies in BC provide empirical support for an alternative view: at least in some domains, a rights-based constitutional order is being constructed on pluralist foundations”

Nico Krisch, Constitutionalism and pluralism: A reply to Alec Stone Sweet

From the paper: “In the book, I pitch this strong version of constitutionalism against its pluralist counterpart, both analytically and normatively. To an extent, the idea behind this move is to stress difference, to bring out contrasts between competing visions in an ideal-typical way. Stone Sweet, like other critics, finds this dichotomy overdrawn and stresses the existence of a middle ground, present especially in a constitutional pluralism that is characterized not by radical conflict between orders but by common—overarching, overlapping—norms and shared techniques regarding rights and their adjudication. …  I would agree with Stone Sweet that much of what we see in European and global governance can be described as a pluralism “about ‘things constitutional’”—especially about rights—and in that sense as constitutional pluralism. Yet if constitutional pluralism is described in such broad terms, the concept may obscure more than it illuminates.”


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