ABSTRACT

The chapter describes the basic assumptions made in the book. It also introduces the author’s research position and provides definitions of key concepts such as constitutionalism, semiperiphery and post-Marxism. The author treats constitutionalism as a discourse. This approach is deeply inspired by the thought of Michel Foucault, Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau. The notion of semiperiphery is borrowed from the thought of Immanuel Wallerstein and adapted for consideration in the context of Central and Eastern Europe. The post-Marxist approach implies, on the one hand, the acceptance of certain general assumptions of Marxism, but, on the other hand, rejects certain elements, such as extreme economism, the associated postulate for the construction of communism and a post-Hegelian deterministic and—at the same time—’romantic’ philosophy of history. However, the following Marxist assumptions are maintained: the insistence that the category of conflict is fundamental to social research; the refusal to regard the socio-economic status quo as satisfactory; the conviction that a change in the dominant consciousness is necessary for liberation; and the assumption that the aim of intellectual activity is not to produce a neutral description, because such a description is simply impossible, but rather to combine description with the struggle for emancipation.