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Celebrating Recent Work by Turkuler Isiksel

New Books in the Arts and Sciences

dateDecember 5, 2016 timeMonday, 6:15pm–8:15pm EST location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University
  • European Institute
  • Dean of Humanities, School of Arts and Sciences
  • Dean of Social Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences
  • Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
  • Free and open to the public
  • No registration necessary
  • First come, first seated


Europe’s Functional Constitution: A Theory of Constitutionalism beyond the State

New Books in the Arts & Sciences
—panel discussions celebrating recent work by the Columbia Faculty

Constitutionalism has become a byword for legitimate government, but is it fated to lose its relevance as constitutional states relinquish power to international institutions? This book evaluates the extent to which constitutionalism, as an empirical idea and normative ideal, can be adapted to institutions beyond the state by surveying the sophisticated legal and political system of the European Union. Having originated in a series of agreements between states, the EU has acquired important constitutional features like judicial review, protections for individual rights, and a hierarchy of norms. Nonetheless, it confounds traditional models of constitutional rule to the extent that its claim to authority rests on the promise of economic prosperity and technocratic competence rather than on the democratic will of citizens. Critically appraising the European Union and its legal system, this book proposes the idea of 'functional constitutionalism' to describe this distinctive configuration of public power. Although the EU is the most advanced instance of functional constitutionalism to date, understanding this pragmatic mode of constitutional authority is essential for assessing contemporary international economic governance.

  • Author Turkuler Isiksel James P. Shenton Assistant Professor of the Core Curriculum Columbia University
  • Discussant Nadia Urbinati Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory and Hellenic Studies Columbia University
  • Discussant Katharina Pistor Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law Columbia Law School
  • Discussant Mattias Kumm Inge Rennert Professor of Law New York University
  • Chair Jack Lewis Snyder Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Relations in Political Science Columbia University