EDDA Public Lecture: Forms and Actors of Constitution Making

Dr. Pasquale Pasquino, Distinguished Professor in Law and Politics at New York University and research professor at CRNS in Paris, will give a public talk, on Tuesday 31 May, entitled “Forms and Actors of Constitution Making”. The talk will take place in Oddi, room 101, at 15:00.

Pasquino is widely regarded as a leading practitioner of the history of political thought in the United States, France and Italy. His fields of research include the political philosophies of Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke; German Staatslehre in the 17th and 18th centuries; the political and constitutional theory of the French Revolution; the political and legal thought of the Weimar Republic; and the theories of Carl Schmitt and Michel Foucault.  Pasquino has published books and articles on constitutional history and theory and is currently working on judicial review in Europe and the United States.

Summary:

The constitution making process under way in Iceland is taking place under unusual circumstances. The lecture will explore it from a comparative perspective. In general, a constitution is written by a Constituent Assembly with the task of expressing and giving form to the constituent power of the people when there is a regime change or the establishment of a new or post-colonial political community. India may serve as a good example of the second type of event; Germany, Japan and Italy after the Second World War or South Africa at the end of the apartheid regime are examples of the first one. In cases like Iceland, however, established democratic regimes – even after undergoing deep crises – normally use the regular mechanism of constitutional revision –  much like the one inscribed in article nr. 79 of the Icelandic Constitution. In this sense, the present events in Iceland are quite exceptional and worth special attention and interest.

Pasquino will be the third and last academic who will be visiting Iceland in the spring semester 2011 as part of a lecture series and joint research project – between the EDDA Center and the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences – on the Icelandic Constituent Assembly, constitution-making, and transitional justice. On February 21, Dr. Yohann Aucante, Lecturer-Researcher at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris, gave a public talk and on April 12, Jon Elster, a Professor of Social Sciences at Columbia University in New York, gave a lecture here as well. Both are also affiliated with the Paris-based institute.

The talk is hosted by EDDA – Center of Excellence in collaboration with the French Embassy in Iceland and the Ministry of the Interior.

Click here to view an Icelandic version of this text