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Call for papers | “Populism and constitutionalism: Historical perspectives” | Deadline: 31/07/2022

Populist Constitutionalism (PopCon) Research Project

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Law School

Call for papers

Populism and constitutionalism: Historical perspectives


Thessaloniki | October 7, 2022

Deadline: 31st July 2022

Oscar Wergeland, The National Assembly at Eidsvoll in 1814 (1885). The Constitution of Norway is perhaps the oldest working codified constitution in Europe.
Oscar Wergeland, The National Assembly at Eidsvoll in 1814 (1885). The Constitution of Norway is perhaps the oldest working codified constitution in Europe.

The worldwide rise of populism and its implications for constitutional democracy have been broadly discussed in recent scholarship. While there is a variety of different types of populism (right-wing/left-wing, exclusionary/inclusionary, authoritarian/democratic etc.), all populists share a strong notion of ‘the people’ as opposed to ‘the elite’ and they claim to ‘truly’ represent the common people against a corrupt and unresponsive elite establishment. In most cases, populism poses a challenge to constitutionalism; sometimes, though, it promises a radical-democratic innovation of constitutionalism. Populism is often explained as a reaction to the failures and deficits of real-existing democracies. Indeed, it seems to arise, at least in part, from the ‘broken promises’ of liberal democracy. Acknowledging this critical insight sheds new light on the origins and development of modern representative democracy and constitutionalism.

We firmly believe that historical instances of populist movements, parties or leaders, or even instances that could be labelled as ‘proto-populism’ or populism avant la lettre, may help us better understand the challenges that contemporary populism poses to, and the promises it makes for, constitutional democracy. The Populist Party in late 19th century USA is the obvious example, but we also have in mind several other social, workers, revolutionary or post-colonial movements from the 18th and 19th and throughout the 20th century, that were fighting for political and socio-economic inclusion and democratic emancipation. In our workshop we aspire to bring together scholars from different disciplines examining through a historical-constitutional lens the relation between populism and liberal democracy. What is the place reserved for the common people, as opposed to elites (political, judicial, or socio-economic), in a constitutional democracy? How does political and socio-economic inequality affect representation and the rule of law? And, conversely, how does juridification, anti-majoritarianism and depoliticization—all, processes associated with constitutionalism—affect liberal democracy’s promise of equal liberty and dignity? These are among the questions that are going to concern us in the workshop.


The PopCon research project is carried out by a research team affiliated with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Law School. We study the relationship between populism and constitutionalism, aiming to propose an approach to constitutional law that mitigates populist challenges to constitutional democracy.

The workshop will take place in Thessaloniki, Greece. Virtual participation will be available via zoom meeting. Abstracts of up to 500 words should be submitted in English or Greek.


Important dates:

​Abstract submission deadline


​July 31, 2022

​Notification of acceptance


​ August 20, 2022



​ October 7, 2022

​Paper submission (3000 - 4500 words)


December 15, 2022


The workshop papers will be published. After the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to finalize their papers and submit them, in English only, for an edited volume or a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal.

There is no registration fee. However, the PopCon Project cannot cover participants’ travel and accommodation expenses.

For submissions and information please send e-mail to:

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