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A Sociology of the Transnational Constitution

Final Report Summary - STC (A Sociology of the Transnational Constitution)

This project examines the ways in which the assimilation of international human rights law in domestic constitutions shapes the political structure of national societies. It focuses on a range of societies, marked by different histories of constitution making, and currently positioned at different points on a spectrum of democratic consolidation and stability. It claims that the incorporation of international human rights law is widely determined by deep-lying historical pressures within national societies, and the use of such law to articulate the legitimacy of state institutions allows national political systems to perform their domestic functions of legislation and social inclusion at an increased level of stability and consistency. To this degree, the effective sovereignty of national institutions often depends on their internalization of international law, and the growing acceptance of international human rights law as a measure of state legitimacy can be linked to long-standing sociological processes of state formation and institutional stabilization. Further, the project argues that the assimilation of international law in national constitutions is the most common precondition for the full establishment and stabilization of national democracy, and few societies secured stable democratic institutions on purely national legal or political foundations. The project uses a combination of historical, sociological, political-scientific and legal data to support these claims.