Conference on Transnational Societal Constitutionalism

17-19 MAY 2012

How can global “constitutional problems”, such as human rights violations by corporations or the catastrophic risks of global capital markets, be dealt with? Societal spheres have to develop their own self-limitative structures, Gunther Teubner suggests in his recently published book "Constitutional Fragments". The conference on "Transnational Societal Constitutionalism" discussed this idea and analyzed under which conditions such constitutional structures emerge and where in social reality they can currently be observed. The following questions became relevant during the conference:

Can constitutions in fact emerge on a transnational level and how may transnational constitution making be described (Christopher Thornhill)?
Are societal sectors outside the political arena able to adapt a "political logic" (Emilios Christodoulidis) and develop a discourse on common goods (Ugo Mattei)?
Do constitutions have to be developed by a collective (Hans Lindahl) or even a formal organization (Poul Kjaer)?
Which role does territory play for transnational constitution making (Saskia Sassen)?
May constitutions also have to develop a temporal dimension (Riccardo Prandini)?
How does the idea of human rights have to be further developed (Florian Rödl)?
And how can we deal with constitutional pluralism in world society (Paul Schiff Berman, Christian Joerges)?

Where in global society do constitutional structures currently emerge:
- In the setting of international financial accounting standards (Moritz Renner)?
- In the societal production of knowledge, such as open-source movementsor massive author collaboration projects (Dan Wielsch)?
- In certification schemes on sustainable forestry and fishery (Jaye Ellis)?
- In NGO protests against large companies and the increasing adaption of CSR commitments (Larry Cata Backer, Anna Beckers)?

From 17 until 19 May 2012, Gunther Teubner and Anna Beckers organised an international conference on Transnational Societal Constitutionalism. The conference was hosted by HiiL,
the International University College of Turin (IUC) and the Collegio Carlo Alberto. It took place at the Collegio Carlo Alberto, Torino.

Download the background paper.

For more details on Gunther Teubner's new book 'Constitutional Fragments' click here. In addition, he co-edited the volume on The Financial Crisis in Constitutional Perspective: The Dark Side of Functional Differentiation (Hart Publishing).

Videos taped during the conference can be found here.

M Steinbeis, ‘Occupy the law!’, Article / Conference report published simultaneously in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung F.A.Z. on 23 May 2012 and on the German language Verfassungsblog. Click here for the English translation.


Thursday, May 17th

09:30 - 10:00

Welcome & Registration

10:00 - 10:30

Introduction: New constitutional conflicts
Gunther Teubner, Turin & Anna Beckers, Maastricht



I. Beyond nation state constitutions: The move to the ‘societal’ and to the ‘transnational’
Chair: Hans Lindahl



10:30 - 11:20

A sociology of constituent power: The political code of transnational societal constitutions
Christopher Thornhill, Glasgow

11:20 - 11:50

Coffee break & posters

11:50 - 12:40

The elusive social dimension of ‘societal constitutionalism’
Emilios Christodoulidis, Glasgow



II. New constitutional subjects: Transnational regimes, the cosmopolitan state,
global assemblages?
Chair: Michiel Scheltema



12:40 -13:30

Constitutionalism and global private ordering
Mattias Kumm, New York

13:30 - 15:00

Lunch break & posters

15:00 - 15:50

We and cyberlaw: Constitutionalism and the inclusion/exclusion difference
Hans Lindahl, Tilburg

15:50 - 16:40

Enabling constitutions: The new constitutional framework in
the age of access
Riccardo Prandini, Bologna

16:40 - 17:10

Coffee break & posters

17:10 - 18:00

Emergent globally bordered spaces: Anti-terrorism, global finance, and so much more
Saskia Sassen, New York





Friday, May 18th

III. Constitutional arenas
Chair: Paul Schiff Berman



09:30 - 10:20

Occupy the system! Societal constitutionalism and the global economy
Moritz Renner, Berlin

10:20 - 11:10

Private governance of knowledge: Societally crafted IP regimes
Dan Wielsch, Cologne

11:10 - 11:40

Coffee break & posters

11:40 - 12:30

Constitution making and constitutive power of the commons
Ugo Mattei, Turin

12:30 - 14:00

Lunch break & posters

14:00 - 14:50

Constitutionalisation of non-governmental certification programmes
Jaye Ellis, Montreal



IV. Collisions of transnational constitutions
Chair: Alfred Aman



14:50 - 15:40

Procedural principles for managing global legal pluralism
Paul Schiff Berman, Washington D.C.

15:40 - 16:10

Coffee break & posters

16:10 - 17:00

Conflicts-law constitutionalism, societal constitutionalism and
the power of technicity
Christian Joerges, Bremen





Saturday, May 19th


09:30 - 10:20

The constitutionalism of trans-normative Law – Towards
a general theory
Poul Kjaer, Copenhagen



V. Human rights and private power
Chair: Christopher Thornhill



10:20 - 11:10

Fundamental rights, private law and societal constitution:
On the logic of the so-called horizontal effect
Florian Rödl, Frankfurt

11:10 - 11:40

Coffee break & posters

11:40 - 12:30

Corporate constitutionalism from below: The role of NGOs
and social movements

Gavin Anderson, Glasgow

12:30 - 13:20

Hierarchical power arrangements and horizontal effects in human rights regimes
Larry Catá Backer, Carlisle, Pennsylvania



Gunther Teubner
Gunther Teubner is a professor of Private Law and Legal Sociology, Principal Investigator, Excellence Cluster "The Formation of Normative Orders", Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main. Professor, International University College, Torino. On the periode of 2009 - 2010,
Gunther Teubner held position as UM - HiiL Visiting Chair on Internationalisation of Law.

For more information and registration, please contact:
Anna Beckers | PhD researcher
Appointed within the UM - HiiL Chair on the Internationalisation of Law
+31 43 388 3138 |