Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2013

Publication Citation

20 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 731 (2013)


The aim of this article is to reframe the debate on societal constitutionalism and constitutionalization from a spatial to a temporal framework. This analytical shift is due to the dramatic acceleration of societal processes, which are increasingly crossing the spatial boundaries of nation-states and of all the other social structures embedded in peculiar places. This high-speed society is characterized by the so-called temporalization of complexity, which influences every aspect of social life and, in particular, the "validity" of law. On the basis of this theoretical background, I would like to show that changing the form of observation from a spatial to a temporal framework may help in understanding the future of constitutionalism in a different and creative way. To cite some of the examples presented in this article, such shifts in the form of observation could help us to reconsider: (a) why so many scholars prefer now to talk about 'orocesses" of constitutionalization instead of constitutions as "structures'" (b) the growing relevance of courts instead of legislative bodies for processes of global constitutionalization; (c) the blurring or vanishing of the modern distinction between pouvoir constituant/pouvoir constitu6; and (d) the fundamental role of human rights and dignity within the processes of global constitutionalization. The temporalization of constitutions could help us to understand and foresee a new and emerging ideal of societal constitutionalism in which the processes and structures of the structural coupling between (not national) polities and law are open to the challenges of a hyper-complex world society.

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