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Marcelo Neves

Law School
University of Brasília
  • 2017 Second Semester
  • 2019 Second Semester

Involved in these STIAS projects

This book project is geared towards a new understanding of democracy, considering that so-called ‘democratic’ modern decisions negatively affect other peoples and thus become undemocratic. In this sense, the concept of ‘people sovereignty’ has to be redefined. To put it differently. It is no longer sufficient to identify democracy with ‘we the people’. Democracy has to incorporate ‘the others’, and so add the phrase ‘the others, the peoples’ as an expression of its self-understanding.
From an almost exclusive stress on people’s identity, democracy has to switch to an emphasis on peoples’ alterity. My book ‘Transdemocacy’ is planned to be structured in four chapters. The first chapter refers to the antidemocratic character of polity [πολιτεία/politeía] in ancient Greek, considering its exclusionary character. The second chapter is related to the misunderstanding of the concept of democracy in modern liberal revolutions, considering the emphasis on the isolationist concept of people’s sovereignty. The third chapter concerns the negative impact of democratic countries on a their political and social environment through colonialism, neocolonialism and imperialism. The fourth chapter deals with the reflux of ‘garbage’ from the subaltern peripheries to dominating centers, which requires reinvention of democracy.

The research deals with the asymmetrical political relations in the world society and their impact on transconstitutional entanglements between legal orders. It moves away from both the Eurocentric and the post-colonial approach on constitutionalism. On one hand, it goes beyond Western and simplistic cosmopolitan global constitutionalism models and soft collision analyses, which are privileged in the so-called “Global North”. On the other hand, it guard against some post-colonialist pundits, who tend to reduce the problem to a semantic question of domination by a language inducing imposed, deformed and heteronomous understandings, and to cover up the structural asymmetries through the euphemistic distinction between “Global North” and “Global South”. The author does not deny asymmetries in the circulation of constitutional ideas within world society when they move through various states. Concerning the post-colonial Latin-American period, being unaware that there were centers that were predominantly irradiators and peripheries that were primarily receivers of constitutional ideas meant leaving aside some crucial aspects of the legal and political experience of these countries. (Trans)constitutionalism as a challenge should neither be overvalued in cosmopolitan terms, because of its European origin nor despised, in post-colonial terms, according to the discourse of cultural authenticity: it only makes sense if it is responsive and flexible to the immense diversity of world society. The research shall be developed on the basis of constitutional case law and context in Brazil and South Africa.

This project forms part of the STIAS long-term theme project Crossing Borders with the subtheme Boundaries and Legal Authority in a Global context.

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