Counterproductive constitutionalisation

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This article focuses on the tension between the “institutional” and “normative” dimensions of the constitutionalization of global governance institutions. It is commonly acknowledged that, under certain circumstances, developments that are plausibly “constitutional” from an institutional perspective might actually be counterproductive when viewed normatively; that is, they might lead to a decrease, rather than an increase, of the legitimacy of the governance institution in question. This article seeks to offer an account of why this might be the case. The article begins by setting out a definition of legitimacy, which takes as basic the notion of legitimate action, and then distinguishes between two quite distinct roles that consent can play in the legitimacy calculus. This definition then ties this back to constitutionalism in global governance, and sketches certain—necessarily somewhat speculatively—implications of this for the potential of “constitutionalism” to improve the legitimacy of global governance institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbermoy102
Pages (from-to)1232-1241
JournalIcon-International journal of constitutional law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2019


  • legitimacy
  • consent
  • global governance
  • authority
  • constitutionalism


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