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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

6 - Popular Sovereignty

from Part II - History of Theory


The following chapter has two main sections that partially overlap. Perhaps they just convey the same idea in two different ways. In the first section I present a conceptual analysis of the terms people, sovereignty, and popular sovereignty to reach the conclusion that in a constitutional democracy sovereignty, and so political authority, is divided and shared among different state organs, contrary to Rousseau’s conception, and that the “people” – the voters – are only one of the constituted powers. In the second section, I argue that the concept of popular sovereignty as constituent power of the people, rather than transposing onto the subject “people” the idea of absolute power of a monocratic institution (the Kingship), is instead the foundational principle of the framework of limited power typical of the contemporary constitutional state. The “people,” I therefore conclude, have to be understood as occupying a vital double role within our constitutional imaginary – supplying both the constituent power and a constituted power.

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