Entre ideias e instituições: considerações sobre Mangabeira Unger e a 'situação constitucional' do Brasil

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2011-05-07
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Roberto Mangabeira Unger’s ultimate project for the legal sphere aims at re-orienting legal analysis towards what he labels institutional imagina- tion. Institutional imagination requires identifiying and exploring alterna- tive institutional futures that are already implicit in the ambiguities and contradictions of our current institutions and collective aspirations. In his paper 'A constituição do experimentalismo democratic', Unger seeks to justify the need to re-orient as institutional imagination the core features of our “constitutional situation”. My goal in this brief comment is twofold. First, I try to contextualize Unger’s approach to the Brazilian 'constitutio- nal situation' — defending a method of legal analysis and applying this method to a set of core features and problems of Brazilian constitutional law — in the broader context of his ideas about law. Second, using stan- dards extracted from a reconstruction of Unger’s own method, I try to raise some perplexities regarding the specific suggestions of institutional reform presented in the text. More specifically, I point to the difficulties of recon- ciling, with Unger’s preferred method for legal analysis, the proposal of allowing either the president or Congress to call for immediate elections,for both branches of government, in case of a deadlock. My broader goal is to contribute to make explicit some central aspects of the ungerian method of reasoning, while also raising possible problems with its operation in specific instances of institutional re-design.


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