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Publication: Kyriaki Pavlidou, "Social Rights in the Greek Austerity Crisis: Reframing Constitutional Pluralism"

IJPL Vol. 10, No. 2, 2018

IJPL Vol. 10, No. 2, 2018

News from Aug 09, 2018

The article "Social Rights in the Greek Austerity Crisis: Reframing Constitutional Pluralism" by doctoral fellow Kyriaki Pavlidou has been published in the current special issue of the Italian Journal of Public Law, which has the general thematic “Constitutional Adjudication in Europe: Between Unity and Pluralism” and has been edited by Pietro Faraguna, Cristina Fasone and Giovanni Piccirilli.


The article examines social rights case-law by the highest European and Greek courts, as well as, Greek lower courts. The focus is placed on the measure of labour reserve, upon the constitutionality of which lower courts decided, at the same time that judges of the highest courts were deciding that the challenged austerity measures before them were in conformity with the Greek Constitution. Assessing the relevant cases, the article stresses that lower judges in Greece safeguarded social rights by constitutionalizing these rights. By assessing the unexplored clash in constitutional adjudication, which took place at a domestic level in Greece, the article proffers the reframing of constitutional pluralism in this context. The latter is understood as in hierarchy of social values and heterarchy of procedure. Constitutional pluralism is perceived in this sense as realizing and promoting social values and as defending equality and dignity that is grounded on solidarity. The article criticizes the concept of solidarity in this respect and defends an idea of solidarity that represents a fundamental constitutional principle of social justice on the scope of self-reliance and reciprocity rather than antagonism. Situating the individual within the austerity context, it claims that this was concretised within a neo-utilitarian, instrumentalist and individualistic ideological framework in favour of economic interests and purely efficiency parameters. It further inquiries into the nature of social rights and stresses that social rights pertain to personal integrity and autonomy and have an individual as much as a collective dimension. Ultimately, the article argues that reframing constitutional pluralism requires vigilance to the material conditions of constitutional adjudication horizontally at a national and supranational level, as well as, to the protection and interpretation of social values over economic interests.

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Freie Universität Berlin
The Minerva Center for Human Rights
Menschenrechtszentrum Uni Potsdam
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Einstein Foundation Berlin
Dahlem Research School