Constituent Machines: Constituent Power, Biopolitics, Democracy

Boaventura de Sousa Santos

March 14 - 21, 2016
Yes to the Constituent. Photography by José Luis Durón
Yes to the Constituent. Photography by José Luis Durón
Organized by
Museo Reina Sofía & Fundación de los Comunes
In collaboration with

The Museo Reina Sofía will host a lecture and seminar by Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos, to take place within the context of the programme Constituent Machines: Constituent Power, Biopolitics, Democracy, jointly organised with the Commons Foundation, and in collaboration with Intermediae. Sousa Santos will analyse the current crisis of constitutionalism in various European states, as well as the possibilities of launching a constituent process on a continental level capable of responding to the enormous social tensions and dilemmas that contemporary European societies face. The round-table discussion will analyse new political perspectives aimed at a more in-depth study of the post-neoliberal project, and with the backdrop of the current regional political crisis and the deceleration of the economic activity affecting the Global South.

Constituent Machines gets under way with the study of social mobilisations, constituent assemblies and processes of political innovation that have materialised in Latin America over the past twenty years. This analysis will set out from the concept of constituent power and the conditions required for its implementation as a major experiment of collective social action and the general mobilisation of energies in Spanish and European societies. Thus, it will strive to study, proceeding from the crisis of political constitution running through Europe and Spain, the possible constituent processes in Europe, considering the crisis that affects the region, from an economic, institutional and monetary perspective, in addition to that which concerns the movement of European citizens, migrants and refugees.

The complete programme in this first part of Constituent Machines will soon be available at


Photography of Professor Boaventura de Sousa Santos
Actividad pasada March 14, 2016 - 7:00 p.m.
The crisis of constitution: Is transformative constitutionalism possible in capitalist, colonialist and patriarchal societies?
Lecture by Boaventura de Sousa Santos

Boaventura de Sousa Santos earned a PhD in the Sociology of Law from Yale University and is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Coimbra. His work is focused on the sociology of law, new forms of constitutionalism, social movements, globalisation, democracy, interculturality and human rights. Sousa is one of the creators of the World Social Forum (WSF), and his most recent publications include: If God Were a Human Rights Activist (2015); Epistemologies of the South. Justice against Epistemicide (2014); Revueltas de Indignación y Otras Conversas (2015); O Direito dos Oprimidos (2014); A Justiça Popular em Cabo Verde (2015).

Sabatini Building, Auditorium

View of the Nouvel Building, Protocol Room, Museo Reina Sofía
Actividad pasada March 15, 2016 - 10:00 a.m.
Politics of constitutional power in Europe: Can Europe learn from the Global South?
Seminar by Boaventura de Sousa Santos

Nouvel Building, Protocol Room

The hand of Óscar Niemeyer. Latin America Memorial. São Paulo
Actividad pasada March 21, 2016 - 7:00 p.m.
The constituent Andean cycle between the political collapse of the neoconservative and neoliberal model and the new post-capitalist political economy
Round-table discussion between Óscar Vega, Salvador Schavelzon and Judith Flores

Sabatini Building, Auditorium