Swedish Research Council


Associate Professor Ulf Morkenstam (Stockholm University)
Professor Ludvig Beckham (Stockholm University)
Associate Professor Sofia Nasstrom (Uppsala University, Sweden)
Associate Professor Kirsty Gover

Project Title

Who are ‘We, the People’? A study of national and indigenous peoples’ constitutions

Project Summary

A central idea in modern democracies is that the coercive powers of the state are legitimate only if they derive from the people. The significance of this idea can be found in the numerous constitutional documents where popular sovereignty is highlighted as a key principle, or where ‘we the people’ is declared the ultimate source of the constitutional order. But in recent decades, ‘the people’ itself has become controversial. A variety of groups compete today for the title of the sovereign people. This project studies the problem of the people in popular sovereignty empirically as well as theoretically by distinguishing between constitutional self-definitions of the people and popular self-definitions of the people.