Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2013

Publication Citation

20 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 941 (2013)


Today's most pressing constitutional question is posed by a global economic system whose expansive tendencies seem no longer controllable. In addressing this question, the theory of Societal Constitutionalism apparently shifts established ideological coordinates by developing a theory of the self-constitutionalization of social spheres. It seeks to combine the virtues of grassroots democracy with the sophistication of systemic social theory. Thus, its normative claim can be formulated as an oxymoron: "Occupy the System!" The claim is an oxymoron because it points to the apparent impossibility of critical social theory in a functionally differentiated society: How can a functional system such as the economy be "occupied" or "democratized"? Yet the oxymoron contains a grain of truth. With a view to the concrete example of transnational standard-setting procedures in the field of corporate accounting, this article examines institutional and systemic processes that enable an emerging political discourse at the core of the global economic system.

Transnational Societal Constitutionalism Symposium, Collegio Carlo Alberto, Turin Italy, May 17-19, 2012