Human Rights, Symbolic Form and the Idea of the Global Constitution

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Abstract

This Article develops a methodological basis for elaborating an idea of global
constitutionalism. It applies this broader understanding of the idea of global
constitutionalism to an examination of the specific role played by human rights within the evolving framework of global legal governance. The methodological basis from which the idea of global constitutionalism is developed derives from work in historical sociology that emphasizes the role played by underlying symbolic forms in the structure of social reality. The approach adopted here lays particular emphasis, following Claude Lefort and Marcel Gauchet, on the role of political theology as the principal mode in which symbolic form is constituted. From this perspective, the notion of the global human rights model is
scrutinized as central to the symbolic form of global constitutionalism. Developed in critical engagement with the work of Samuel Moyn, human rights can be seen as central to global constitutionalism viewed as the latest political constellation of a distinctively secular understanding of the symbolic form and limits of political authority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-532
Number of pages22
JournalGerman Law Journal
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2017

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