Constitutionalism and Democracy

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This course explores the meaning of constitutionalism, its basic features, and its relationship to de-mocracy. It is assumed that some of the central categories of constitutionalism – the constitution, basic rights, the rule of law, separation of powers, limited government, constitutional judiciary – are relevant for political science and political theory. While the course is organized largely around fun-damental categories rather than country-specific case studies, the readings and lectures will raise topics that students are encouraged to apply to the analysis of their own or other countries, both in seminar discussions and in written work.

We begin with a conceptual and normative inquiry into the notions of constitutionalism and democ-racy. We proceed by exploring basic elements of the constitutional content: fundamental rights and foundational principles of formal institutional arrangements. Next we address several democracy-related challenges: participation, pluralism and conflict, individual choice and group preference for-mation, as well as political challenges from agonism and populism.

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