SOC 503 Social Studies of Constitutions and Constitutionalism
In recent years, constitutionalism as a mode of political action undertaken by courts and other political entities has become key to efforts of political reconstruction. In both South Africa and Eastern Europe, for example, constitutionalism has become the modus operandi of setting the framework of new political orders, for coming to terms with a troublesome past, and for gaining political legitimacy vis-à-vis global or regional trans-national institutions. At the same time, constitutions today, as in the past, remain a crucial site for contesting and negotiating the boundaries of the legitimate order and work as a juridico-political context for affirming and enacting deeply rooted imaginations of a nation's past, present and future. Constitutional courts, as well as other constitutional bodies emerge as major players in these contestations. We will examine these processes through the specific examples of the European Union, Hungary and South Africa. In particular the historical, political, social and economic dynamics at work in these contexts concentrating on the making of constitutions, the operation of constitutional bodies and the entangled notions of constitutionalism is discussed.