Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne Studia nad Prawem
The Janus Face of Constitutionalism
Uniwersytet Wrocławski | University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
The article is based on an assumption that constitutionalism has a Janus face. A constitution is both a legal and a political act. So far, the public domain has been dominated by legal constitutionalism (constitutional dogmatics), which excludes the constitution from the public sphere, subjecting it to the authority of lawyers-experts. The contemporary political phenomena such as: new populism, illiberal democracy or new constitutionalism should shift the interest of researchers to the political aspect of constitutionalism. Constitutionalism is, therefore, a multidimensional social practice. A political game featuring many actors. And the constitutionalism of lawyers is only one of its possible interpretations. Citizens also have their own constitutionalisms, and different perspectives on constitutionalism, reflecting opposing interests, may lead to conflicts. The constitutional law dogmatics applied to resolve such conflicts would argue for the existence of a transcendental framework for their resolution. A more political approach denies the existence of such a framework. In other words, the dogmatics in question requires democracy to adapt to constitutionalism, while the political approach requires constitutionalism to adapt to democracy. The text is an introduction to a part of a volume featuring articles by authors affiliated with the Centre for Legal Education and Social Theory of the University of Wrocław.