Varieties of constitutionalism: Contestations of liberalism in comparative constitutional law

Project summary “Varieties of constitutionalism”
Liberal constitutionalism is under pressure. The wave of transitions to constitutional democracy and market economy in the 1990s marked the end of the cold war but not the end of history. Today, economic crises, increasing inequalities, the rise of non-liberal powers and the resurgence of populism and nationalism pose challenges to liberal constitutionalism. Our joint project proposes to investigate these challenges from the perspective of comparative constitutional law. We seek to map contemporary varieties of constitutionalism and to assess contestations of, and alternatives to, liberal constitutionalism in Germany, Brazil and the respective regional contexts. The project thus intervenes in global debates in the field of comparative constitutional law and contributes a legal perspective to broader discussions about contestations of liberalism.

The project pursues three main objectives: The first is to contribute to the research on varieties of constitutionalism by developing a comparative typology that enables us to categorize constitutional orders along several dimensions, to identify different types of constitutionalism, and to capture variation within the liberal type. In particular, we seek to clarify whether transformative constitutionalism – a concept often used to characterize the Brazilian constitutional order – should be conceptualized as an alternative to liberal constitutionalism, or whether the two are variants of the same constitutional type. The second objective is to assess selected contestations of liberal
constitutionalism in Brazil and Germany in their regional contexts. We will compare what normative alternatives are advanced and whether past and present contestations result(ed) in an alternative regime, or in the adaptation and transformation of liberal constitutionalism. The third objective is to theorize the role that paradigmatic actors, or “protagonists”, play in varieties of constitutionalism and contestations of liberalism. If the individual is the protagonist of liberal constitutionalism, are there alternative actors that compete for the main role in the varieties of constitutionalism, namely collective actors like social movements or corporations?

Thematically, our research will concentrate on three areas that promise innovative insights: democratic, economic and open constitutionalism. These three areas will be connected in a cross-cutting thematic study on the role of the corporation in the varieties of constitutionalism. This study will assess whether the corporation plays a paradigmatic role in economic, democratic and/or open constitutionalism in Brazil and Germany, situate the corporation in the typology of the varieties of constitutionalism, and evaluate the role it plays in contemporary contestations of liberal constitutionalism. This study will result in a German habilitation that feeds project results back into German constitutional doctrine and discourse.

Principal Investigators
Riegner Oliveira, Michael (Details) (Public Law / Public Law and Comparative Law)
Dann, Philipp Prof. Dr. (Details) (Public Law / Public Law and Comparative Law)

participating organizational facilities of the HU
Faculty of Law (OKZ: 1000)

Participating external organizations

Duration of Project
Start date: 03/2020
End date: 02/2023

Research Areas

Last updated on 2021-25-02 at 16:21