Keynote: Roberto Gargarella: Democracy as a Conversation Among Equals

Date/Time: 23 August 2022, 09:00-10:00
Venue: Kulturhuset and Zoom

In his keynote lecture, marking the publication of his recent book The Law as a Conversation among Equals (Cambridge 2022), Gargarella argues that – at the current time of disenchantment with democracy, massive social protests and the ‘erosion’ of the system of checks and balances – it is important to reflect upon the main problems of our constitutional democracies from a particular regulative ideal: that of the conversation among equals. He examines the structural character of the current democratic crisis, and the way in which constitutions have been built around a ‘discomfort with democracy’, critically exploring the creation of different restraints upon majority rule and collective debate: constitutional rights that are presented as limits to (and not, fundamentally, as a product of) democratic debate; an elitist system of judicial review; a checks and balances scheme that discourages, rather than promotes, dialogue between the different branches of power; etc. Based on this analysis he proposes a dignified constitutional democracy aimed at enabling fraternal conversation within the framework of a community of equals.

Roberto Gargarella is Professor of Constitutional Law at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, senior researcher at CONICET, and a LawTransform Global Fellow. Gargarella is among Latin America’s leading legal scholars and public intellectuals. Among his numerous influential books and articles are The Legal Foundations of Inequality (2010), Latin American Constitutionalism: The Engine Room of the Constitution (2013); Constituent Assemblies with J. Elster et al (2018) and The Oxford Hanbook of Constitutional Law in Latin America with C.H. Mendes and S. Guidi (2022)

Comments by: Sanne Taekema (Erasmus University, Rotterdam), Lise Rakner (UiB), Sandra Botero (Universidad del Rosario)
Chair: Siri Gloppen (LawTransform / UiB)