Constitutional Imaginary Significations and Shifting Imaginaries

The modern constitutional imaginary is grounded in contradictory representations of what constitutes society, or ‘social imaginary significations’. The two key imaginary significations regard order and autonomy. The orderly function, as exemplified by liberal constitutionalism, has been predominant in the post-1945 Europe, resulting in ‘embedded constitutional democracy’ and international (legal) interdependence and integration. The modern constitutional imaginary which constitutes this form of society is facing erosion. It faces a significant loss of meaning, which indicates considerable forms of disconnect between formal, legal institutions and wider society, and widespread sensations of powerlessness and exclusion. The emergence of a populist imaginary of the law is both a result of and a contribution to the erosion of the modern constitutional imaginary and consists in an attempt to correct the legalist one-sidedness of ‘embedded constitutional democracy’ in the name of autonomy.