Arendt's Phenomenology of the Political

This intervention is based on a chapter where Hannah Arendt is taken as the most representative thinker of the autonomy of the political in modern constitutional orders. What is challenged in the chapter is her idea of political action as action by plurality. The author points out that her account of plurality travels so freely because she cuts it loose from the field of collective identifications and speaking positions: un-fettered from the ‘social’ condition and the field of association that would have grounded it, it becomes a floating signifier immeasurably useful to the champions of ‘constitutional pluralism’ and ‘global cosmopolitanism’ and other accommodations of capitalism. The discussion will use Arendt's constitutional theory to debate on the potential offered by the idea of political autonomy in constitutional orders.

Labour constitutionalism

This intervention will discuss the chapter on social rights and protection of work. In particular, the potential offered by the constitutionalisation of a contradiction between individual property rights and labour rights will be explored and assessed. The discussion will be opened to examples from different constitutional jurisdictions.

The Lie of Constitutional Governance

This intervention takes up the chapter on the substitution (of political for market constitutionalism) which is played out under the sign of governance. Where in the past the distinction between public law and private law organised the field and demarcated the spheres of public interest and individual freedom respectively, today we confront the pervasive move that no longer pits them against each other but underwrites them both. The market principle that was understood as the principle subtending the transactional nature of private law as distinct from public law, gradually becomes the arbiter of the separation itself and guarantor of the circulation (‘balancing’ in the preferred idiom) of public goods. The discussion will both track the solidity of this reconstruction and the availability of constitutional redress

Constitutions and Markets: A Reply

The final intervention will reply to the previous four papers and will serve as the starting point for a round-table discussion which will extend to contemporary constitutional issues concerning the dominance of market rationality

The Redress of Law

This intervention will discuss the introductory chapter of the book and will focus on the space of political conflict and constituent power in constitutional orders almost suffocated by market thinking.