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Why do We Need a Realist Constitutional Theory to Study the Politics of Constitutional Change in the Middle East?

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "Realist" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: NORREGADE 10
postcode: 1165

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Denmark [DK]
 Project website
 Total cost 212˙194 €
 EC max contribution 212˙194 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2016
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-08-01   to  2019-07-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    KOBENHAVNS UNIVERSITET DK (KOBENHAVN) coordinator 212˙194.00


 Project objective

This research programme aims to make contribution to comparative political and legal theory by studying the recent constitutional transformation in the Middle East in at least three grounds. First, in arguing that a constitution always comes into being as a result of a historical process and a decision (will), such historical-sociological context and power relations behind the creation of constitutions can be grappled with best by a realist political and legal theory. A realist approach sees constitutions as the ultimate battleground for the groups competing for power to constitute the foundational norms and values of society. Second, if a constitution is created by a decision, there is always an agency behind that decision that executes its will power. In democratic theory such agency is being defined as the people, but the people cannot manifest its will without a representative (e.g. a class, constituent assemblies, or conventions). To this end, a realist approach carefully examines the agency of Islamic political parties so as to understand the peculiarity of the constitution-making in the Middle-East. Peculiarity here is that the recent revolutions brought Islamic parties to government, but this has only helped destabilizing the new, or present, constitutions and weakening the hope for accommodation of Islamist groups in a liberal democratic and secular constitution. Third, a comparative realist approach examines both the Western and Islamic sources of legitimacy so as to have a nuanced understanding of the contemporary crises of legitimacy which now dominates the entire region. Such comparative study is necessary because the Western (secular) concepts and institutions such as constitution, freedom of association, competitive elections, parliamentarianism and liberal rights have already moved from the Western context to other regions, setting the agenda of political discourse.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Acar Kutay
Realist Constitutionalism
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2019 Acar Kutay
A Realist Critique of Liberal Constitutionalism
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Under review 2020-01-27
2019 Acar Kutay
Constitutional Revolutions beyond Neoliberalism and Post-Politics
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2019 Acar Kutay
From Weimar to Ankara: Carl Schmitt, sovereignty and democracy
published pages: 728-752, ISSN: 0191-4537, DOI: 10.1177/0191453719830150
Philosophy & Social Criticism 45/6 2020-01-27

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