Constituents Before Assembly: Participation, Deliberation, and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions (Comparative Constitutional Law and

Constituents Before Assembly: Participation, Deliberation, and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions (Comparative Constitutional Law and

By: Todd A. Eisenstadt (author), Tofigh Maboudi (author), A. Carl LeVan (author)Hardback

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Under what circumstances do new constitutions improve a nation's level of democracy? Between 1974 and 2014, democracy increased in 77 countries following the adoption of a new constitution, but it decreased or stayed the same in 47 others. This book demonstrates that increased participation in the forming of constitutions positively impacts levels of democracy. It is discovered that the degree of citizen participation at the 'convening stage' of constitution-making has a strong effect on levels of democracy. This finding defies the common theory that levels of democracy result from the content of constitutions, and instead lends support to 'deliberative' theories of democracy. Patterns of constitutions are then compared, differentiating imposed and popular constitution-making processes, using case studies from Chile, Nigeria, Gambia, and Venezuela to illustrate the dynamics specific to imposed constitution-making, and case studies from Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, and Tunisia to illustrate the specific dynamics of popular constitution-making.

About Author

Todd A. Eisenstadt is Professor of Government at American University, Washington DC. His democratization and rule of law scholarship includes his award-winning dissertation book, Courting Democracy in Mexico: Party Strategies and Electoral Institutions (Cambridge, 2004). His research has been funded by Fulbright, the Ford and Mellon Foundations, and the National Science Foundation. He has held visiting appointments at El Colegio de Mexico, Harvard University, Massachusetts, the University of California, San Diego, and the Latin American Social Science Faculty (FLACSO) in Ecuador. A. Carl LeVan is Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University, Washington, DC. He is the author of Dictators and Democracy in African Development: The Political Economy of Good Governance in Nigeria (Cambridge, 2015), and co-editor of African State Governance: Subnational Politics and National Power (2015). Prior to receiving his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, he worked as a legislative director in the US Congress and later worked as a technical advisor to Nigeria's National Assembly. Tofigh Maboudi is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Loyola University, Chicago. His research on constitutional reform processes has appeared in the American Political Science Review and Political Research Quarterly. Prior to receiving his Ph.D. in Political Science from American University Washington, DC, he worked as a foreign media consultant in Tehran, Iran where he received his Master's degree in North American Studies. During his Ph.D. program, he received several awards including the American University's Award for Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level.


Introducing constitutions as political process; 1. A call to pens (even if not mightier than swords): how context and process prevail over content in constitutional change; 2. Making the constituents King: how constituent deliberation on new constitutions democratizes more than mere citizen participation; 3. Parchment politics: the importance of context and conditions to the convening of constitutions; 4. The logic of 'top down' elite constitutionalism: how imposed processes may (but usually do not) produce better democracy; 5. The logic of 'bottom up' constitutionalism: how popular processes tilt the odds in favor of democracy; 6. Interest groups versus individual participation, and the gap between ideal constitutional process and real world practices.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781107168220
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 218
  • ID: 9781107168220
  • weight: 440
  • ISBN10: 1107168228

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