Constitutional Imaginaries

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Wednesday, 8 June 2022, online at 6pm Sydney time

Speaker: Professor Jiří Přibáň

On this occasion, Jiří Přibáň* will be joining us for a discussion about his recent book, Constitutional Imaginaries: A Theory of European Societal Constitutionalism (Routledge, 2021). The book addresses the sociology of imagined communities and the philosophy of modern social imaginaries in the context of transnational European constitutionalism and its recent theories, most notably the theory of societal constitutions. It offers a new approach to the legal constitutions as societal power formations evolving at national, European and global levels.

Constitutional imaginaries invite constitutional and political theorists, philosophers and sociologists to rethink the concept of constitution as the normative legal limitation and control of political power. They show that political constitutions include societal forces impossible to contain by legal norms and political institutions. The constitution of society as one polity defined by the unity of topos-ethnos-nomos, that is the unity of territory, people and their laws, informed the rise of modern nations and nationalisms as much as constitutional democratic statehood and its liberal and republican regimes. However, the imaginary of polity as one nation living on a given territory under the constitutional rule of law is challenged by the process of European integration and its imaginaries informed by transnational legal and societal pluralism, administrative governance, economic performativity and democratically mobilised polity.

The discussion panel for this webinar will be leaders of our research project, Honorary Associate Professor Adam Czarnota and Professor Martin Krygier, of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, and Professor Wojciech Sadurski of the University of Sydney.

The event is free, but registration is essential to gain access to this webinar.

This session is co-hosted by the CEU Democracy Institute and our project, with the Network for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law.

*Jiří Přibáň is Professor of Law, Cardiff University, UK. He graduated from Charles University in Prague (1989) where he was appointed professor of legal theory, philosophy and sociology in 2002. He has published extensively in the areas of social theory and sociology of law, legal philosophy, constitutional and European comparative law, and theory of human rights. His monograph Sovereignty in Post-Sovereign Society (Routledge) was awarded the SLSA Socio-Legal Theory and History Book Prize. His article ‘Reconstituting paradise lost: temporality, civility and ethnicity in post-communist constitution-making’, published in Law&Society Review, won the SLSA Hart Socio-Legal Article Prize. He is the founding director of the Centre of Law and Society and an editor of the Journal of Law and Society. He regularly contributes to the Czech and international media.