Machiavelli and constituent power: The revolutionary foundation of modern political thought

European Journal of Political Theory 16 (1) (2017)
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This paper considers Niccolò Machiavelli’s contribution to a theory of constituent power. Modern authors who have analysed the concept of constituent power generally agree on its ambiguous, paradoxical and apparently contradictory essence. With few exceptions, Machiavelli is absent from both the historical reconstructions of and the theoretical debates on the origin of constituent power. My argument is built around two main theses: reintroducing Machiavelli to the debate on constituent power offers an original response to the theoretical fallacies and inconsistencies identified by modern scholars. In particular, Machiavelli’s philosophy contributes to the comprehension of constituent power as a living force within social order. My second thesis is that by tracing the source of constituent power back to Machiavelli, we can overcome the main theoretical problem implied by this concept, namely the problem of the priority of the factual or the juridical, by providing a vision that emphasises their immanent coexistence.



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References found in this work

Insurgencies: Constituent Power and the Modern State.Antonio Negri - 2009 - University of Minnesota Press. Edited by Maurizia Boscagli.
The concept of constituent power.Martin Loughlin - 2014 - European Journal of Political Theory 13 (2):218-237.
Subdue the Senate.John P. McCormick - 2012 - Political Theory 40 (6):714-735.

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