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Constituents before Assembly

Participation, Deliberation, and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions

· Constitutionalism,Democracy,Social Movements

By Todd A. Eisenstadt , A. Carl LeVan and Tofigh Maboudi. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Reviewed by Ben Manski, Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara, for the forthcoming edition of the Law & Society Review, Volume 52, Issue 4

“Two fears commonly coincide in this time of constitutional crises: First, that the established constitutional order will prove itself incapable of resolving the problems before it; second, that efforts by popular movements to alter or replace the existing constitutional order risk a societal regression to something substantially worse. This duality of constitutional fears is manifest in much of the contemporary world – from European debates over the future of the EU, its members, and subnations, to American arguments over proposals for amendments and constitutional conventions in the USA, to the constitutional upheavals throughout South America and Africa. What then must democrats do?

Proponents of the democratic rule of law should seek broad popular participation in constitutional reform. This is the answer implicit in the findings of Todd Eisenstadt, Carl LeVan, and Tofigh Maboudi in Constituents before Assembly: Participation, Deliberation, and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions, a new cornerstone in a rising scholarship addressing when and how constitutional change produces democratization – as well as when it doesn’t.”

Please contact me for a personal copy of my review of this book.

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