Arendtian Constiuent Power: between law and revolution

Can constitutions make space for revolutions? The concept of constituent power represents the understanding that in constitutional democracies, “the people” are the source of power. In liberal constitutional theory, constituent power is subsumed and exhausted by the act of foundation. Other perspectives recognize the presence of constituent power post establishment and focus on its conflictual character. In this paper, I bring Arendt as an interlocutor in these debates. I argue that Arendt’s writings on power and constitutions suggest that constituent power is generated out of concrete political practices and is not foreclosed by establishment. Further, I look at the gaps and crevices of such an understanding and argue that the resulting perspective is provocative enough for those interested in the value of constitutional orders for revolutionary politics.