The English School and global constitutionalism

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The English School of International Relations (ES) is a theoretical approach that strongly emphasises the role that international law, ethics and morality, as well as informal norms, rules, and institutions have played historically in regulating and maintaining relations between different political communities. Inter-polity orders across history, for the ES, have all been marked by the existence of constitutional structures, legitimacy principles, and normative parameters of rightful conduct. This chapter intends to provide a coherent and systematic overview of the distinctive ways in which the ES has contributed to the study of constitutionalisation of world politics. After briefly summarising the main tenets of ES theory, the chapter analyses the different ways in which ES authors have reflected on processes of global constitutionalism. The chapter will then move to a more analytical section, where three specific aspects of ES theory are discussed in relation to global constitutionalism – the pluralism-solidarism debate; the concepts of primary and secondary institutions; and the interplay between international and world society. In the final section, the chapter considers how the ES conceptualises current and future challenges to global constitutionalism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of global constitutionalism
EditorsAnthony F. Lang, Jr, Antje Wiener
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Edgar Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9781802200263
ISBN (Print)9781802200256
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameResearch handbooks on globalisation and the law series


  • English School
  • Order
  • Material constitution
  • International society


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