Bruno Leipold

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Bruno Leipold
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Bruno Leipold

1. Oktober 2017 - 30. September 2018

Research topic

»Constitutionalizing Popular Democracy«

Project outline

My research project explores and defends constitutional alternatives to liberal democracy, which realise genuine popular control and widespread political participation. There has been increasing interest from constitutional and political theorists in exploring these alternatives. This has been motivated by the mounting empirical evidence, gathered by political scientists and political economists, of the elite capture of the democratic process. Examples of the kind of institutional alternatives that have so far been explored include the selection of public officials by lottery rather than by election, trials of public officials by citizens, and public bodies that explicitly exclude richer citizens from membership. My proposed research expands upon this body of literature by exploring a constitutional idea that is traditionally associated with popular democracy but has been neglected in contemporary discussions: the idea of imperative mandates. This is where representatives are legally bound to follow the instructions of their constituents. They are currently banned in the constitutions of many liberal representative democracies, which instead enshrine the idea of free mandates, where representatives exercise their own legislative judgement. My research project aims to both uncover the neglected constitutional history of imperative mandates and show why they are a promising constitutional mechanism to combat elite capture in modern democracies. (Bruno Leipold)

Scholarly profile

Bruno Leipold received his PhD from the University of Oxford with a dissertation entitled »Citizen Marx: The Relationship between Karl Marx and Republicanism«. From September 2018 he will be a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence.

Main areas of research

Republicanism, Marxism; Popular Democracy; 19th Century Political Thought

Selected publications

  • (ed. with Karma Nabulsi and Stuart White), Radical Republicanism: Recovering the Tradition’s Popular Heritage, Oxford University Press 2017. (under contract with Oxford University Press)
  • »Political Anarchism and Raz’s Theory of Authority«, in: Res Publica, 21/3, (2015), p. 309-329.
  • »Chains and Invisible Threads: Liberty and Domination in Marx's Account of Wage-Slavery«, in: Rethinking Liberty before Liberalism, ed. Annelien de Dijn und Hannah Dawson, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (forthcoming)
  • »Marx’s Social Republic«, in: Radical Republicanism: Recovering the Tradition’s Popular Heritage, ed. by Bruno Leipold, Karma Nabulsi and Stuart White, Oxford: Oxford University Press. (forthcoming)