Grad students to engage with top lawyers, political economists and theorists

Some of the top Canadian and international lawyers, political economists, social and development theorists will meet with graduate students this week to analyze and debate the “new constitutionalism”, a central characteristic of the global political economy. It’s another way York students are being given opportunities to engage with the wider community, says York Distinguished Research Professor Stephen Gill.

Stephen GillThis intensive Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada-funded international workshop will take place Thursday, May 26 to Saturday, May 28 in the Research Tower on the Keele campus.

The event is by invitation only and not open to the public. However, detailed information, including the full list of presentations and abstracts can be viewed by visiting the New Constitutionalism and World Order website. Following the events, the website will be used to provide publication and other information.

Right: Stephen Gill

The workshop will be one component of the International Political Economy and Ecology Graduate Summer School, hosted by York graduate programs in political science, geography and environmental studies, that has been taking place since May 16.

Some of the speakers at the workshop will include: Richard Falk, the Albert G. Millbank Professor Emeritus of International Law & Politics at Princeton University and a Visiting Distinguished Research Professor in Global & International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara; York political science Professor Isabella Bakker, a current Trudeau Fellow; sociology, social and cultural analysis Professor Neil Brenner of New York University; Tim DiMuzio, a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre of Excellence in Global Governance Research at the University of Helsinki; and current Trudeau Fellow Janine Brodie, Canada Research Chair in Political Economy & Social Governance at the University of Alberta. Each presentation will be followed by a Q & A where the workshop participants can engage with the presenters.

New constitutionalism refers to the complex of politico-juridical and constitutional frameworks, regulations and rights that have emerged as key mechanisms of global governance to regulate political economy, society and ecology in the era of neo-liberal capitalism.

Some of the questions the participants and students will discuss include: What are the main transformations occurring in governance arrangements for the global political economy? What legitimacy concerns are raised by new constitutionalism in the context of the deepest crisis of global capitalism since the 1930s? Is there evidence of the emergence of, or conceptualization of, alternative forms of constitutionalism and world order?

Substantial evidence, says Gill, suggests that new constitutionalism is a key feature of the present world economic order, exemplified in organizations such as the World Trade Organization, and in the emergence of independent central banks, each of which have been largely premised on neo-liberal development models. These developments have coincided with the global expansion of capitalism and the extension of private property rights and a proliferation in private governance mechanisms.

However, the recent deep crisis of accumulation has called into question the legitimacy and sustainability of these arrangements, prompting critical reflection on alternative forms of constitutionalism and global governance and questions concerning the potential shape of the emerging world order.