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The Language of Constitutional Comparison

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The Language of Constitutional Comparison

9781800882577 Edward Elgar Publishing
Francois Venter, Extraordinary Professor, Faculty of Law, North-West University, South Africa
Publication Date: March 2022 ISBN: 978 1 80088 257 7 Extent: c 288 pp
In this incisive and thought-provoking book, Francois Venter illuminates the issues arising from the fact that the current language of constitutional law is strongly premised on a particular worldview rooted in the history of the states around the North Atlantic Ocean. Highlighting how this terminological hegemony is being challenged from various directions, Venter explores the problem that all constitutional comparatists face: that they all must use the same words to express different meanings.

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In this incisive and thought-provoking book, Francois Venter illuminates the issues arising from the fact that the current language of constitutional law is strongly premised on a particular worldview rooted in the history of the states around the North Atlantic Ocean. Highlighting how this terminological hegemony is being challenged from various directions, Venter explores the problem that all constitutional comparatists face: that they all must use the same words to express different meanings.

Offering a compact but comprehensive constitutional history, Venter investigates the ways in which the standard vocabulary does not fit comfortably in many contemporary constitutional orders, as well as examining how its cogency is increasingly being questioned. Chapters contextualize comparative constitutional methods to demonstrate how the language choices made by comparatists are shaped by their own perspectives, arguing that careful explanation of the meanings attached to constitutional terms is imperative in order to be persuasive or even understood.

Tackling the foundational elements of the field, this book will be a critical read for constitutional scholars across the globe. It will also be of interest to high-level practitioners of constitutional law and political scientists for its investigation of terminology that is crucial to their work.
Critical Acclaim
‘This book taps into deeper layers in comparative constitutional law. Francois Venter starts from the lingual character of all law to examine seemingly similar terms in different political systems and their relationship to foundational insights, political conditions and diverging legal traditions. Equipped with such comparative findings, researchers and practitioners of constitutional law will better understand contested concepts in their own system.’
– Ernst Hirsch Ballin, Tilburg Law School, the Netherlands
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