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Rousseau's Constitutionalism: Austerity and Republican Freedom

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Despite Rousseau's legacy to political thought, his contribution as a constitutional theorist is underexplored. Drawing on his constitutional designs for Corsica and Poland, this book argues that Rousseau's constitutionalism is defined chiefly by its socially directive character. His constitutional projects are not aimed, primarily, at coordinating and containing state power in the familiar liberal-democratic sense. Instead, they are aimed at fostering the social conditions in which a fuller sense of freedom – understood broadly as non-domination – can be realised across all social domains. And in turn, since Rousseau views domination as being deeply embedded in complex social practices, his constitutionalism is aimed at fostering a radical austerity – social, economic and cultural – as its foil. In locating Rousseau's constitutional projects within his social and political theory of servitude and domination, this book will challenge the predominant focus and orientation of contemporary republican theory. Leading republican thinkers have drawn on the historical republican canon to articulate a model of constitutionalism which is, on the whole, 'liberal' in focus and orientation. This book will argue that the more communitarian orientation of Rousseau's constitutionalism – that is, its socially-directive focus – stems from a sophisticated and compelling account of the sources of unfreedom in complex societies, sources which are ignored or downplayed by the neo-republican literature. Rousseau embraces a communitarian social politics as part of his constitutional project precisely because, pessimistically, he views domination as being deeply embedded in the social relations of the liberal order.

Author: Daly Eoin
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781509903474
Cover: Hardback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2017

Introduction: Rousseau's Austerity and Rousseau's Constitutions

I. Rousseau as a Constitutional Theorist
II. Rousseau's Constitutional Projects
III. Outline of Chapters

1. The Constitution of Freedom
I. Introduction
II. Freedom and Domination in Republican and Liberal Traditions
III. (Re)constituting Freedom
IV. Situating Rousseau's (Un)freedom
V. Rousseau as a Republican Outlier
VI. Constitutionalising Rousseau's Freedom

2. The Constitution of Autarky
I. Introduction
II. Commerce and Autarky in Corsica and Poland
III. Commerce, Virtue and Corruption
IV. Rousseau's Concept of Constitutionalism
V. Autarky between Realism and Utopia
VI. Conclusion

3. The Constitution of Symbol and Ritual
I. Introduction
II. Symbolism and Ritualism in Contemporary Constitutional Thought
III. Rituals and Symbols in Corsica and Poland
IV. The Political Function of Symbols and Rituals
V. The Radical Scope of Rousseau's Civic Ritualism
VI. Culture and Domination in the Early-modern World
VII. Culture and Aesthetics under Austerity
VIII. Civic Ritualism and Constitutional Design: Contemporary Problems
IX. Conclusion

4. The Constitution of Deliberation
I. Introduction
II. Rousseau on Deliberation, Dissensus, Dissent
III. Deliberation and Non-domination
IV. Deliberation as Domination
V. Deliberation under Republican Austerity
VI. Deliberation and Difference
VII. Neo-republican Blindspots

5. The Constitution of Judgment
I. Introduction
II. Legislation and Judgment in Rousseau's Constitutional Projects
III. The Paradox of Judicial Power under the General Will
IV. Principled Adjudication and the General Will
V. Adjudication under Republican Austerity
VI. Complexity, Differentiation and Symbolic Power

VII. Conclusion

Eoin Daly is Lecturer in Law at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

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