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Making a 21st Century Constitution

Playing Fair in Modern Democracies

Frank Vibert

Democratic constitutions are increasingly unfit for purpose with governments facing increased pressures from populists and distrust from citizens. The only way to truly solve these problems is through reform. Within this important book, Frank Vibert sets out the key challenges to reform, the ways in which constitutions should be revitalised and provides the standards against which reform should be measured.
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Chapter 5: Obsolescence: the purposive

Frank Vibert

Extract

This chapter discusses the purposive aims of a constitution. It sets aside purpose defined as ‘goals’ and focuses on ways a constitution can reflect the character of a democratic constitution. The central issue for the expression of character is the modern day, deep social diversity of democratic societies encountered in everyday transactions in shared urban settings. The chapter discusses the role of ‘character’ norms such as prudential and expressive norms. It goes on to discuss the limitations of multicultural theory and other binary ways of distinguishing between deep social differences. The analysis turns to look at the evidence of how differences manifest in a shared setting, including in attitudes towards masculinity.

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