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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 7: Building blocks and the mix of motives

Frank Vibert


This chapter opens a discussion continuing over the next three chapters that refines the challenges faced in reshaping the content of modern democratic constitutions. It considers three different possible starting points for thinking about constitutional content: goals, civic purpose and underlying motivation. It selects motivation as the starting point. It identifies a bundle of motives: material, emotive and normative that reflects the social context of constitution making. It identifies the different ways in which the different motives can be expressed in constitutional provisions. It establishes the importance of bounded rationality in a constitutional context.

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