RECON Online Working Paper 2011/31

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Reconfiguring the Politics-Law Relationship in the Integration Project through Conflicts-Law Constitutionalism


Michelle Everson (Birkbeck, University of London) and Christian Joesges (ZERP, University of Bremen)



This paper argues that the relationship between law and politics must be reconfigured within the European Union. Dissecting recent crises in Europe with reference to the three ‘fictitious’ commodities of Karl Polanyi, we find that law in Europe has contributed to de-legalisation, de-socialisation and disenfranchisement. Reviewing potential for law to respond to crisis through new paradigms of conflict resolution as suggested by Ralf Dahrendorf, we find that the steering capacity of law is limited where it fails to establish a relationship with politics. Our conclusions are modest: conflict-law constitutionalism cannot solve Europe’s crises. However, it does represent a new procedural paradigm of law within which relations between European law and European politics might be re-established – a vital step to overcoming crisis.



Dahrendorf — European Monetary Union — Environmental Policy — European Citizenship — Integration Through Law — Polanyi — Private International Law — Social Democracy



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