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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 10: The normative motivation: the role of politics

Frank Vibert


This chapter discusses the role of politics in resolving normative differences in socially diverse democracies. It distinguishes between three different roles: providing ‘finality’ or ‘authoritative resolution’; accommodation or compromise; and, the ‘transvaluational’. The transvaluational is defined as an organizational concept referring to the advantages of politics offered by the span of association, the means of establishing policy priorities and the opportunities for feedback. It discusses each role and provides reasons why the transvaluational role is preferred because it puts the spotlight on politics as a way to achieve social adaptation. The chapter concludes by bringing together the challenges identified in the discussion to date. It is the response to these challenges that is discussed in the remaining chapters.

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