Dark material(s) and material constitutions: constituent power, institutional aims and productive forms

Debates in constitutional theory are cyclical. Every so often, constitutionalists re-discover some previously influential, but in the meantime neglected, theoretical concept. The same is the case with ‘constituent power’ and ‘material constitution’, the two concepts that many recent scholars have been trying to make great again. This presentation starts from the assumption that this ‘procedure' entails one important disadvantage: while it seems to create the conditions for a more focused debate, it unduly restricted the range of theoretical approaches to a particular concept. Or more concretely: Though we’ll more or less know what to expect when we debate Schmitt’s constituent power or Lassalle’s material constitution, we'll often do so without reflecting on the meaning of the implicit, more basic preconceptions of “power”, “material”, and “constitution”. The aim of this presentation is to explore what might happen if we did otherwise.