Constitutionalism, Populism and Agamben’s State of Exception

Populism and its effort to supplant constitutionalism in modern democracies is on the increase. This study therefore examines the relationship between populism and constitutionalism by adopting Agamben’s State of Exception theory. In this theory, a legal system has two diametrically opposed elements which are norm and anomie in a pull-and-push relationship. Where norm pushes out anomie, a state of utopia has occurred. On the other hand, where anomie completely obliterates norm, a state of annihilation has occurred. Therefore, this study argues that a legal system contains both constitutionalism and populism in a diametrically opposed, push-and-pull relationship. Where constitutionalism pushes out populism, a state of democratic utopia has occurred. Where populism completely obliterates constitutionalism, a state of annihilation has occurred.