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Republican Constitutionalism and Reflexive Politics

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In this paper I take issue with and argue against a certain subordination of the political to the legal that, I argue, is advanced under theories or 'republican constitutionalism' and undertake a defense of the political as 'reflexive'. In republican constitutionalism one discerns an 'imperialistic' legal move to set the terms of political discourse, as political conflicts in order to be legally resolved are forced to meet criteria of legal relevance: in the process much that is vital to political action, its understanding and undertaking, is suppressed, elided or appropriated. I argue against the purported 'containment' of politics in law and for a 'reflexivity' that is constitutive of politics, re-introducing contingency and self-reference ('what is political can only be a political question') at the heart of what it means to act politically.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, edited by authorisation of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR), is an international, peer-reviewed journal, first published in 1907. It features original articles on philosophical research on legal and social questions, covering all aspects of social and legal life.
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