The tradition of the material constitution in Western Marxism

Goldoni, M. and Wilkinson, M.A. (2023) The tradition of the material constitution in Western Marxism. In: Goldoni, M. and Wilkinson, M. A. (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook on the Material Constitution. Series: Cambridge Law Handbooks. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 25-44. ISBN 9781009023764 (doi: 10.1017/9781009023764.003)

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The aims of this chapter are, first, to track the development of the notion of the material constitution in selected authors associated with Western Marxism and, second, to explain its intermittent presence in the Marxist canon. The chapter focuses on four turning points in the social and intellectual history of the material constitution: its Marxist origins in the second half of the nineteenth century (Karl Marx and Ferdinand Lassalle, who coined the term); the crucial years of the Soviet revolution and the First World War (Vladimir Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg); the interwar period (Antonio Gramsci); and the tail end of the twentieth century (√Čtienne Balibar and Antonio Negri). At each turning point, a certain slack between the concrete constitutional order and the codified or written constitution has pushed scholars to revisit the material constitution. Although the chapter registers the decline of interest in the material constitution after the Second World War, it also underscores that the series of crises over the last two decades have again pushed the notion to the centre stage of constitutional enquiry. The chapter thus highlights the insight offered by these authors for understanding the material constitution in the twenty-first century.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Goldoni, Professor Marco
Authors: Goldoni, M., and Wilkinson, M.A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Published Online:15 January 2023
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