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The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation$
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Wolfgang Merkel, Raj Kollmorgen, and Hans-Jürgen Wagener

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829911.001.0001

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(p.421) Chapter 38 Constitution-Building
The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation

Astrid Lorenz

Oxford University Press

Constitution-building refers to the process of negotiation and adoption of a secular order of the community that claims primacy over all other law and which contains the most important rules, procedures, and principles that regulate the establishment, organization, and exercise of state power as well as the relationship between state, society, and the individual. This chapter describes key assumptions of different strands of theory concerning constitution-building. While there are many diverging hypotheses, a consensus exists in political science that constitution-building is a result of power and norm conflicts as well as experiences in a social community. The chapter also gives an empirical overview of constitution-building (background, venues, time, etc.) worldwide. The practice is marked by institutional path dependencies, elites, and ostensible conflict resolution. It often contradicts theoretical expectations or seems to be more influenced by factors other than those on which theory focuses.

Keywords:   constitution-building, constitution, order, rule of law, institutions, norms, transition, path dependency

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