In this paper, I argue that the contemporary conservative, populist engagement with the law in a number of East-Central European societies is – at least in part – a reaction to what is portrayed as legal fundamentalism or an excessive juridification of society. Populism is to an important extent driven by the opposite idea, that is, it seeks to significantly reduce the presence and status of public and constitutional law throughout society. First, I will discuss legal fundamentalism and the juridification of society in conceptual terms. Second, I will engage with populism and public law, and the different dimensions of the populist critique on legal fundamentalism and juridification. Third, I will discuss the contrasting proposals populists provide for an alternative (post-)legal order, and its problematic understanding of legality and the rule of law.
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