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«February 2020»

Fellow Seminar

05 December 2019

Dr. Martin Belov will present his research proposal on the topic: "Constitutional Semiotics. Theory of Imaginative, Visual and Emotional Discourses in Constitutional Law" on 5 November 2019 (Thursday) at 16:30h at CAS conference hall.


In this project I am going to propose a new approach to constitutionalism and constitutional law. This is the constitutional semiotics approach. The aim of constitutional semiotics, as defined by me, will be to provide a tool for analysis of the constitution and constitutional law as a system of signs and symbols. In that regard, I will define the concept of constitutional semiotics comparing it with general semiotics and legal semiotics. I will demonstrate how constitutional semiotics relates to other theories for constitutional analysis outlining its advantages and particular contributions for gaining additional knowledge of constitutional phenomena (especially on the macro level).

The core assumption of the project is that the predominant constitutional theory is overemphasizing rational constitutionalism while, in fact, constitutional codes, images, symbols and emotions play pivotal role for the functioning and understanding of constitution, constitutional law and constitutionalism. Constitutional law will be deconstructed from the viewpoint of emotional, imaginative and visual discourses and then reconstructed using semiotic instruments as a ‘game of codes'. Hence, I am going to explore the ‘underestimated' and ‘hidden' discourses in constitutionalism. These are the emotional, visual and imaginative constitutional discourses. Thus, constitutional semiotics will be exposed as a bridge between rational and emotional constitutionalism.

Special attention will be devoted to a theory I am proposing. This is the theory of constitutional geometry. Constitutional geometry is both semiotic and epistemological scientific paradigm. It aims at both explaining and ordering the constitutional law. It will be demonstrated that constitutional geometry may serve well as a meta-theory of constitutional methodology borrowing from both constitutional semiotics and constitutional epistemology. I aim to define the concept of constitutional geometry and to create a typology of constitutional geometric forms capable of explaining the main shapes and forms used for organizing and explaining the constitutional order.

Martin Belov is Associate Professor in Constitutional and Comparative Constitutional Law at Sofia University. He has been a guest lecturer and visiting professor at the University of Paris II Pantheon-Assas, France (2019), University Roma Tre, Italy (2019), European Academy of Legal Theory and the ‘Goethe' University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2019), etc. Dr. Belov has been project researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2010-2012) and visiting researcher at the Institute for Federalism, Fribourg, Switzerland (2014). He is president of the Sofia Legal Science Network; member of the European Group of Public Law, International Association of Legislation, the Advisory Board of the Central and Eastern European Forum of Young Legal, Political and Social Theorists, Bulgarian Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy, Bulgarian Scientists Union, section "Legal Sciences" and other scientific and academic organizations.

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