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Making a 21st Century Constitution

Playing Fair in Modern Democracies Frank Vibert, Senior Visiting Fellow, Department of Government, London School of Economics, UK
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.
Extent: 336 pp
Hardback Price: $145.00 Web: $130.50
Publication Date: 2018
ISBN: 978 1 78811 804 0
Availability: Out of Stock
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  • Law - Academic
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Administration and Management
  • Regulation and Governance
  • Constitutions
Democratic governments are increasingly under pressure from populists, and distrust of governmental authority is on the rise. Economic causes are often blamed. Making a 21st Century Constitution proposes instead that constitutions no longer provide the kind of support that democracies need in today’s conditions, and outlines ways in which reformers can rectify this.

Frank Vibert addresses key sources of constitutional obsolescence, identifies the main challenges for constitutional updating and sets out the ways in which constitutions may be made suitable for the the 21st century. The book highlights the need for reformers to address the deep diversity of values in today’s urbanized societies, the blind spots and content-lite nature of democratic politics, and the dispersion of authority among new chains of intermediaries.

This book will be invaluable for students of political science, public administration and policy, law and constitutional economics. Its analysis of how constitutions can be made fit for purpose again will appeal to all concerned with governance, practitioners and reformers alike.
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction 2. Constitutions and Democracy: The Setting PART I SOURCES OF CONSTITUTIONAL OBSOLESCENCE 3. Obsolescence: The Foundational 4. Obsolescence: The Canonical 5. Obsolescence: The Purposive 6. Diversity and the Challenge to Established Social Practices PART II REFINING THE CHALLENGES: MOTIVES AND THEIR EXPRESSION 7. Building Blocks and the Mix of Motives 8. The Material Motive: Problem Management 9. The Emotive: Togetherness and Fairness 10. The Normative Motivation: The Role of Politics PART III UPGRADING CONSTITUTIONAL EXPRESSION 11. Constitutions and Common Knowledge of the New Actors 12. Hierarchy and Political Persuasion 13. Qualitative Rules and the Transvaluational 14. Missing Actors in Chains of Intermediation 15. Benchmarking: Rights and Normative Choice 16. Legitimacy: Identification and Consent 17. Conclusions: Upgrading Constitutions Appendix References Index