Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2013

Publication Citation

20 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 629 (2013)


This paper is an internal critique of the theory of societal constitutionalism as developed by Gunther Teubner, with a specific emphasis on the constitutional and the political dimensions of the theory. As critique it focuses on the arguably unacknowledged dangers of co-option: the danger that constitutionalization, as an ongoing process, undercuts what we typically associate with the constitutional, which is its framing function; that this problem is accentuated when it comes to the transnational; and that its reflexivity runs the danger of market capture, in which case it remains only nominally political. The danger of market capture for societal constitutionalism is that the market becomes the means of calling forth the "societal" by submitting it to functional imperatives and, in the final instance, harnessing it to market allocations. This paper is, however, also an internal critique, because it, too, relies on the key concept of reflexive self-definition, aspiring to think it on an uncompromisingly political register.

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