«Descolonizando el constitucionalismo» by Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Sara Araújo, Orlando Aragón Andrade

Akal 2021


Questioning of the monolithic, Eurocentric and colonial model of modern constitutionalism from the global South

Modern constitutionalism is based on the ideas of unity, uniformity and homogeneity: one sovereign state, one nation, one law, one bureaucratic and institutional structure, one culture, one identity. Such unity and uniformity do not constitute the ratification of a pre-existing reality, but a violent rupture with the past exercised in the interests of capitalism, which has involved the destruction or marginalisation of nations, rights, cultures and identities that coexisted in the same geopolitical territory. This model, proclaimed to be superior and of universal interest, has survived the processes of political decolonisation and has spread by means of a Eurocentric, colonial legal canon, which cements the abyssal line, excluding, devaluing and rendering invisible ethnic, cultural, legal, religious, regional and other differences.

In this context, the processes of refoundation of the State and constitutional transformation that have been taking place in some countries of the global South assume a relevance that is not only local or of legal interest. We are referring to political movements that challenge the colonial character of the state and the law, raising the banners of interculturalism, legal pluralism, demodiversity, plurinationality and citizen participation. This book aims to deepen our understanding of these movements that in recent decades have come to question modern constitutionalism, driven by collective social actors that modernity has excluded, such as indigenous communities in Latin America or the oppressed majority under the apartheid regime in South Africa, whose voices were raised in the midst of harsh social and identity struggles.  

About the Authors

Boaventura de Sousa Santos

Sara Araújo

Orlando Aragón Andrade