2021/ 2022

Théo Fournier

Mobility Phase: CASP - Point d'accès au droit | European University Institute

The Missing Element – Can Constitutional Culture Improve Trust in Rule-of-Law Instruments?

Photo: Joanna Scheffel

Théo Fournier holds a Ph.D. in law from the European University Institute (Florence, 2021) in which he looked at the constitutional architecture of two democratic transitions (Hungary and South Africa). In parallel, Théo worked on and published several pieces about the so-called rise of populism, focusing on Marine le Pen's strategy of capture of power. Théo is the co-founder of ConstPol Working Group and Thoughts for Europe, two researcher-led initiatives which aimed at bursting the academic bubble. He also worked for a legal consultant for Democracy Reporting International (2020) and spent 6 months at the Asia Foundation in Manila (2016). He has teaching experience at Sciences Po, the University of Bologna and University of Aix en Provence.

The Missing Element – Can Constitutional Culture Improve Trust in Rule-of-Law Instruments?

This study explores what is a missing element of the current discussion of liberal democracies: the role of constitutional culture in building a long-lasting trust in rule-of-law instruments. Constitutional culture goes beyond the sole constitutional text. It is at the crossroad between constitutional law, social psychology and political sciences. It is related to other concepts such as political support, institutional legitimacy and constitutional identity. France and Hungary might have in common a lack of widespread constitutional culture. In Hungary, Viktor Orban was re-elected twice since he captured the Constitutional Court. The latter did not manage to diffuse a constitutional culture despite being one of the most activist courts in the world since 1990. In France, the publication of Marine le Pen’s constitutional programme in 2017 did not spark any debate in the public sphere. It is rather surprising for a 70-year-old Fifth Republic known for its activist community of public lawyers. The overgoal of this study is to understand the role of constitutional courts in the diffusion of a constitutional culture in the various strata of society. This study will hinge on an internship at the French Constitutional Court during the presidential elections of 2022.