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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Comparative Political Sciences and Political Systems of Eastern Europe

CONSTRESS - Constitutionalism under Stress

CONSTRESS is a genuinely interdisciplinary endeavor, bringing together political scientists, political philosophers, sociologists and lawyers. It includes jointly taught seminars and workshops, open to MA- and PhD-students from different disciplines at Princeton and Humboldt University.

Research Focus: Constitutionalism under Stress

 

Since the global boom of democratic constitution-making and constitutional reform in the 1990s, abroad legal and political debate centered around the crucial importance of constitutional law as a means of protecting transnational fundamental rights and promoting democracy. In recent years, however, the flip side of this "new constitutionalism" has also become visible: If the political context changes in an unfavorable (i.e. iliberal or populist) direction, constitutions, it seems, can in fact be used as tools to re-establish and strengthen authoritarianism. Besides, constitutions may com under stress where different levels of constitutional politics (national, sub- and supra-national) overlap and sometimes contradict each other. These dangers have been visible both in Europe and the Americas, crying out for a careful comparative approach. Whereas constitutions largely fall into the area of expertise of legal scholars, they are increasingly also part of political and social science research. CONSTRESS proposes a combination of normative, legal and social scientific research to develop a more nuanced understanding of constitutionalism's contemporary crises.

 

The Organizers

Anna-Bettina Kaiser, Professor of Public Law at Humboldt University

Jan-Werner Mueller, Professor of Political Theory at Princeton University

Silvia von Steinsdorff, Professor of Comparative Politics at Humboldt University

 

Workshops

July 2018: "Constitutionalism, Dissent, and Resistance", Humboldt University Berlin

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