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Title: Law and reflexive politics : a systems-theoretical critique of republican constitutionalism
Author: Christodoulidis, Emilios A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1995
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I begin by exploring the foundational notion of popular sovereignty as guiding ideal - or at least key precondition - of constitutionalism. By sanctioning the public political sphere, constitutional law maps out a universe of politics. I will approach the intersection of law and politics from the republican perspective, where the role of law is seen as substantiating the ideal of popular sovereignty and as empowering politics. Constitutionalism, here, is above all about self-determination and sovereignty and sanctions the processes where the sovereign will is formed. I review the theories of some key advocates of "civic" republicanism and describe their institutional suggestion for the "containment" of the politics of civil society. I employ systems theory in order to confront the republican claim that the politics of civil society can be contained (and empowered) by the law; with the help of the theory I explore the relationship between conflict and law and suggest that law allows for conflict only selectively, by setting the thresholds of valid dissensus, the when and how of possible conflict. In the process not only is much repressed but much is appropriated as well, as political conflicts to be represented are forced to meet criteria of legal relevance. I argue this via 11 inter-related theses against republicanism. In each of these theses I discuss one aspect of this silencing or depletion of political conflict to suggest that at crucial junctions where constitutive political connections are articulated, republicans advocate a containment that is either arbitrary, question-begging or self-defeating.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available