Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America
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Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America

Edited by Rosalind Dixon and Tom Ginsburg

This book provides unique insights into the practice of democratic constitutionalism in one of the world’s most legally and politically significant regions. It combines contributions from leading Latin American and global scholars to provide ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’ insights about the lessons to be drawn from the distinctive constitutional experiences of countries in Latin America. In doing so, it also draws on a rich array of legal and interdisciplinary perspectives. Ultimately, it shows both the promise of democratic constitutions as a vehicle for social, economic and political change, and the variation in the actual constitutional experiences of different countries on the ground – or the limits to constitutions as a locus for broader social change.
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Chapter 5: Constitutional revolution in the Andes?

Zachary Elkins


The Andes have been the setting for apparent constitutional innovation in recent years. These reforms are noteworthy, since new ideas about constitutions seem relatively rare, at least with respect to other legal and political reform. But how transformational are the new constitutions of the so-called “pink tide” countries? And if these constitutions are not transformational, then which ones have been? This chapter considers the reforms in the context of 200 years of constitutionalism with data from the Comparative Constitutions Project. The analysis sheds light on the historical contours of institutional innovation and contributes conceptually to the understanding of constitutional transformations and “revolutions.”

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