Europe's Functional Constitution: A Theory of Constitutionalism Beyond the State

ISBN : 9780198844341

Turkuler Isiksel
304 Pages
156 x 233 mm
Pub date
Apr 2019
Oxford Constitutional Theory
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Constitutionalism has become a byword for legitimate government, but is it fated to lose its relevance as constitutional states relinquish power to international institutions? This book evaluates the extent to which constitutionalism, as an empirical idea and normative ideal, can be adapted to institutions beyond the state by surveying the sophisticated legal and political system of the European Union. Having originated in a series of agreements between states, the EU has acquired important constitutional features like judicial review, protections for individual rights, and a hierarchy of norms. Nonetheless, it confounds traditional models of constitutional rule to the extent that its claim to authority rests on the promise of economic prosperity and technocratic competence rather than on the democratic will of citizens. Critically appraising the European Union and its legal system, this book proposes the idea of 'functional constitutionalism' to describe this distinctive configuration of public power. Although the EU is the most advanced instance of functional constitutionalism to date, understanding this pragmatic mode of constitutional authority is essential for assessing contemporary international economic governance.


Introduction: Constitutionalism Beyond the State: Assessing the Stakes
1 The Trilemma of Constitutional Authority
2 The Theory of Functional Constitutionalism
3 Market Freedoms and Human Rights
4 Law, Democracy, and Citizenship in the European Union
5 Free Movement: A Citizenship of Aliens
6 The Non-discrimination Principle: Unbounding the State
Conclusion: The EU Without Illusions

About the author: 

Turkuler Isiksel is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. She earned her PhD in political science from Yale University and works primarily in contemporary political theory. Isiksel has served as a Perkins fellow at the Princeton University Program in Law and Public Affairs and as an Emile Noel Fellow at the Jean Monnet Centre for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice at the New York University School of Law. In addition, she has held a Jean Monnet fellowship at the Global Governance Program at the European University Institute in Florence, and a visiting fellowship at the Justitia Amplificata Centre for Advanced Studies at Goethe Universitat in Frankfurt.

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