International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought

Constitution and Constitutionalism

The Third Concepta Resarch Training Seminar

Date: 5-6 November 2009

Place: Stockholm University, Sweden



Organisers: Concepta - International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought and the University of Stockholm.


Convenors: Dr. Jussi Kurunmäki (Stockholm University), Dr. Suvi Soininen (University of Jyväskylä), Dr. Henrik Stenius (University of Helsinki)

The third Concepta Research Training Seminar
Constitution and Constitutionalism.
Date: 5-6 November 2009
Place: Stockholm University, Sweden

Organisers: CONCEPTA ¬- International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought and Stockholm University.


Seminar hotels:

Lady Hamilton:

Lord Nelson:


Thursday 5 November
Stockholm University,
Department of Political Science
(Södra Huset, F-building, 7th floor, room F702)

9.00 Opening (Jussi Kurunmäki, Suvi Soininen, Henrik Stenius, Sami Syrjämäki)

9.15 Key note lecture: Andreas Kalyvas (The New School for Social Research)
On the Conceptual and Political Origins of the Constituent Power

Discussant: Kjell Engelbrekt (National Defence College, Sweden/Stockholm University)

10.15 Coffee

10.30 Jean-Fabien Spitz (Université de Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne)
Locke’s contribution to the intellectual foundations of modern constitutionalism

11.00 Itay Snir (Tel-Aviv University)
Constitution and Sensus-Communis: The Re-enactment of Legitimization

11.30 Peter von Philipsborn (London School of Economics and Political Science)
‘Ancient Constitution’ Arguments and the Concept of Democracy

12.00 Scheherezade Pinilla Cañadas (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Beginning something new. The Spanish Constitution of 1812 and the issue of foundational narrative in Benito Pérez Galdós´ Episodios Nacionales

12.30 General discussion

13.00 Lunch

14.15 Key note lecture: Max Edling (Uppsala University)
Paragon of limited government or foundation for superpowerdom? A new look at the American constitution.

Discussant: Petri Koikkalainen (University of Lapland)

15.15 Francisco Ortega (University of Helsinki)
Early Latin American Constitutions (1809-1816): Preliminary notes.

15.45 Coffee

16.00 Adriana Luna (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas)
From the Historical Constitution to Cadiz 1812: mapping a Spanish conceptual shift from a Latin American Perspective

16.30 Frida Osorio Gonsen (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris)
In the pursuit of State building: the practice of the separation of powers in Mexico (1824-1834)

17.00 Markus J. Prutsch (University of Helsinki)
The French Charte constitutionnelle in the Crisis of 1830: Constitutional Change between Evolution and Revolution

17.30 Samuel Hayat (Université Paris 8)
Representing l’universalité des citoyens : the French constitutional debate of 1848.

General discussion

19.30 Dinner at the restaurant Pelikan Blekingegatan 40, 116 62 STOCKHOLM

Friday 6 November
Stockholm University,
Department of Political Science
(Södra Huset, F-building, 7th floor, room F702)

9.15 Key note lecture: Dario Castiglione (University of Exeter)
The transformation of Constitutionalism? The EU experience

Discussant: (Sofia Näsström, Stockholm University)

10.15 Coffee

10.30 Giulia Beltrametti (University of Torino)
The Fascist State’s Totalitarian Representation of Itself: the Concept of Constitution trough Political Discourse and Juridical Writings (1925-1940).

11.00 Carl Marklund (University of Helsinki)
Reconstituting the Juridical for the Social: The Social Constitution versus the United States Constitution

11.30 Anu Kettunen (University of Jyväskylä)
Rational planning of societies – a debate

12.00 Hanna-Mari Kivistö (University of Jyväskylä)
Drafting the West-German Basic Law and the Constitutionalization of the Right to Asylum

13.00 Lunch

14.30 Jani Marjanen (University of Helsinki)
Debating Constitution in Finland in the Early Nineteenth Century: Possible Openings for Research

15.00 Tatiana Khripachenko (European University at St. Petersburg)
The New Constitutional Russia and the “Old” Finnish Constitution: Debates on the Status of Finland after the Revolution of 1905

15.30 Coffee

15.45 Veli Särmäkari (University of Helsinki)
Making up constitutional charter conscription in the Grand Duchy of Finland and its 21-century aftermath

16.15 Vesa Vares (University of Turku)
Constitutionalism which combined legalism and action

17.00 Closing panel

* * *


In recent years, questions regarding the meaning and scope of the concept of constitution have become re-actualised in conjunction with the increased attention that has been paid to the phenomena of globalisation, multiculturalism and the transformation of modern democracy. Questions, which for a long time had been posed almost exclusively by legal and political theorists and the historians of “the age of revolutions”, seem to have gained practical relevance: Are the constitution-makers the same people as the people affected by the constitution in question? What is the relationship between the concept of constitution and the concepts of nation and state?


Present problems and future concerns revitalise our interest in the history of the concepts of constitution and constitutionalism. The conceptual history perspective not only helps us to understand the background of today’s problems but it also enables us to see the contested character of the very concept of constitution. We may ask: What meanings have been given to concept of constitution and in what kind of political controversies it has been involved? What kind of role have geopolitical constellations had in terms of constitution-making and constitutional reforms? What is characteristic to a constitutional moment? When and where did these moments take place? We may also learn why and in which ways “constitution” has become one of the key concepts of modern politics.


In order to shed light to the politics of constitution and constitutionalism, the International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Though, Concepta, invites doctoral students, post docs and senior scholars to a workshop on the concepts of constitution and constitutionalism. The focus of the workshop is narrow in a sense that we are interested in a particular concept (or a cluster of concepts), but it is also broad in a sense that the concept of constitution will be approached from a number of different angles.


Consequently, papers dealing with the following topics are especially welcome.


-        historical case studies of debates over constitutions

-        diachronic conceptual changes in the use of “constitution”

-        the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy

-        political ideologies and the concept of constitution

-        parliamentarism as republican form of constitutionalism

-        geopolitical aspects of constitution-making

-        ancient constitutions vs. revolutionary moments: temporal aspects of “constitution”

-        sub-national and post-national constitutional aspirations

-        conceptual history aspects of the attempts to create a European constitution


Deadline for abstracts (max. 400 words):  14th September 2009


Send abstracts to Jussi Kurunmäki: or Suvi Soininen:


Keynote speakers


The keynote speakers at the seminar are Dario Castiglione (University of Exeter), Max Edling (University of Uppsala), Andreas Kalyvas (The New School for Social Research, New York). The topics covered by the key note speakers include the making of the US Constitution, the history of pouvoir constituent, and the EU Constitution.


Dario Castiglione is Reader in Political Theory at the University of Exeter in the Department of Politics of the School of Human and Social Sciences. His major field of interest is political theory and its history, with particular application to contemporary European developments. His main areas of research comprise constitutionalism, democratic theory, the interconnection between state and society, the history of early modern political thought, and democracy and citizenship in the EU. He has published extensively on these issues and acted as one of the lead-partners in numerous EU projects on issues such as European Constitutionalism, Democracy and Citizenship.


Max Edling is a member of the Department of History at Uppsala University and the author of A Revolution in Favor of Government: Origins of the U.S. Constitution and the Making of the American State (New York, 2003). His
current research deals with American political economy and war finance between the Revolution and the Civil War.


Andreas Kalyvas is an associate professor in the Department of Politics at The New School for Social Research. He is the author of "Democracy and the Politics of the Extraordinary: Weber, Schmitt, Arendt" (Cambridge University Press 2008) and the co-author of "Liberal Beginnings: Making a Democracy for the Moderns" (Cambridge University Press 2008).  He is currently working on two book projects: one on the intersecting trajectories of dictatorship and tyranny in Western political thought and another on the constituent power and radical democratic politics.


Registration fee: 50 euros.

Accommodation: More information will be published soon.

Travel grants: A number of travel grants will be available to contribute towards students travel expenses. Although, students should be aware that these grants might not cover full costs. Those wishing to apply for a travel grant should indicate this in their applications.


Contact: Jussi Kurunmäki: and Suvi Soininen:


WWW: Keep eye on this page for updates!