• Legality and Legitimacy. The Legal and Political Philosophy of Popular Sovereignty in the New Latin American Constitutions

Lambert Academic Publishing
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(David Restrepo Amariles studied Law, Political Science and Philosophy. He holds an LL.M in Legal Theory and a Master in Sociology of Law. He is currently Research Fellow at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. His primary research and teaching interests include Legal Theory, Jurisprudence, Constitutional Law, International Law and Global Law.)


A vigorous constitutional movement has characterized the last two decades of Latin American politics. Claiming to recover popular sovereignty through the establishment of new constitutions the reformers, led by the Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, aim at moving beyond the heritage of liberal modernity and establishing new states capable of abolishing historical oppressions while at the same time accomplishing emancipation. The author delves into the philosophical underpinnings of this idea, utilizing the concepts of legality and legitimacy as foundations upon which to build his claims. This thriving work proposes an interdisciplinary approach bringing together the history of philosophical ideas and a contextualized legal, political and sociological analysis of contemporary politics in Latin America. The author concludes that the underlying philosophy and institutional setting of the new Latin American constitutions, and particularly those issued of the Bolivarian Revolution, do not provide an alternative to the modern liberal state, but rather, they establish a new ideological framework which aims to recover lost faith in modern ideals.

MATERIAS: legality, legitimacy, New Constitutionalism, Latin America, sovereignty, Natural Law, liberalism