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9 Eur. L.J. 1 (2003)

handle is hein.journals/eurlj9 and id is 1 raw text is: 

European Law Journal, Vol. 9, No. 1, February 2003, pp. 1-13.
( Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK
and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA

               Editorial: Evolving Norms of


                                  Antje Wiener'

Abstract: Constitutionalism  offers an academically constructed framework  that allows us
to assess processes  of constitutional change in their respective societal contexts. This
article offers insights into different perspectives within  the debate  over  'European'
constitutionalism and  their potential consequences.  It makes  the point for a  societal
approach   to assess the emergence   and  role of both, constitutional and  sociocultural
norms, pointing to the key role ofsocial practices in this process. It proposes an approach
to constitutionalism which  elaborates on  a shift of analytical focus from the  'type of
polity' towards  'social practices' as key to  evolving, interpreting, and implementing
norms.  It is argued  that this choice  of perspective matters.  It has implications for
subsequent  moves  including the selection of case studies and methodology.  The distinct
analytical choices are presented as four positions of constitutional choice.

I   Introduction2

The  oft-mentioned  perspective on the European   Union  (EU) as a polity that finds itself
in a continuous  process of becoming   leaves academics  and politicians alike appearing
to constantly act or argue  'as if' the EU were an international organisation or a state.
This take on  the EU  notwithstanding  everybody  is perfectly clear about the constraint
entailed in the  EU's  status as both  'anti-state and near-state'.3 After all, while not
necessarily or conceptually related to nation-states, 'usually, talk about constitution
or  the  constitution  means  the  constitution  of a  state as the  basic  order  and

  Reader and Jean Monnet Chair (Political Science), Institute of European Studies, Queen's University
  Belfast, Belfast BT7 INN, Northern Ireland, email: a.wiener@qub.ac.uk.
2 This article draws upon several years of joint work on the topic with Jo Shaw for which funding has been
  received from the British Council and the German Academic Exchange Service's Academic Research
  Collaboration Programme (ARC) Grant #1088 (1999-2000) as well as from the University Association of
  Contemporary European Studies (UACES) in the UK (2000-2002). The work presented in this special
  issue builds on a number of workshops which brought together an interdisciplinary and international
  scholarly community under the umbrella of a two-year study group on the topic for which financial
  support from UACES,  Queen's University Belfast, the University of Leeds, as well as the European
  Commission is gratefully acknowledged. The editors would also like to thank the workshop participants
  and members of the UACES study group as well as the German partners, especially Ingolf Pernice and
  U. K. Preuss who were central to beginning this project. I gratefully acknowledge financial support by two
  British Academy Small Research Grants # SG-34628 and # SG-31867, as well as a Social and Legal
  Studies Association Small Research Grant.
  See Shaw, J. and A. Wiener, The Paradox of the 'European' Polity, NYU Law School Jean Monnet
  Working Papers, 10/99, (1999), http://www.jeamnonnetprogram.org/papers/99/991001.html

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