Handbook on Global Constitutionalism
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Handbook on Global Constitutionalism

Edited by Anthony F. Lang and Antje Wiener

This Handbook introduces scholars and students to the history, philosophy, and evidence of global constitutionalism. Contributors provide their insights from law, politics, international relations, philosophy, and history, drawing on diverse frameworks and empirical data sets. Across them all, however, is a recognition that the international order cannot be understood without an understanding of constitutional theory. The Handbook will define this field of inquiry for the next generation by bringing together some of the leading contemporary scholars.
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Chapter 21: Constitution making

Andrew Arato


The chapter maintains that different forms of democratic constitution making are susceptible to authoritarian dangers and deformation to quite different extents. Nevertheless, I argue, that because of the significantly path-determined nature of the specific methods adopted, normative preference cannot always lead to the utilization of what is deemed best or even better. I try to make the case by analysing and comparing the major assembly forms of constitution making: extra-ordinary constituent assemblies, ordinary legislatures, American-type conventions, and round tables linked either to ordinary legislatures or to limited constitutional assemblies. I next try to show that even when the political path of transformation does not favour the adoption of the best paradigms of constitution making, it is possible to learn important things from both legitimating principles and specific mechanisms of the latter. I conclude with some reflections on the role, both negative and positive, of international actors in the process of constitution making. I distinguish here between types of intervention and the levels of influence on domestic actors.

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