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  • Cited by 5
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2020
Print publication year:
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Book description

Growing public discontent with the performance and quality of many contemporary democracies makes them vulnerable to popular pressures to profoundly transform or replace their constitutions. However, there is little systematic academic discussion on the legal and political challenges that these events pose to democratic principles and practices. This book, a collaborative effort by legal scholars and political scientists, analyzes these challenges from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. It fills a theoretical vacuum by examining the possibility that constitutions might be replaced within a democratic regime, while exploring the conditions under which these processes are more compatible or less compatible with democratic principles. It also calls attention to the real-world political importance of the phenomenon, because recent episodes of constitutional redrafting in countries including Kenya, Poland, Venezuela and Hungary suggest that some aspects of these processes may be associated with either the improvement or the gradual erosion of democracy.


'This book is an excellent collection on the processes of constitutional creation in democratic regimes. Combining detailed empirical studies with theoretical approaches to challenging texts, this valuable work will undoubtedly enrich the field of comparative constitutionalism. A must-read for legal and political theorists interested in the topic.'

Roberto Gargarella Source: Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, School of Law

'Gabriel Negretto and his distinguished collaborators have produced a collection of incisive theoretical essays and carefully selected case studies. The result is a truly impressive volume on the conditions in which democratic outcomes emerge from constitutional processes.'

Donald L. Horowitz Source: Duke University, and author of Constitutional Change and Democracy in Indonesia

'By combining thoughtful theoretical discussion with comprehensive comparative investigation, this outstanding collection of essays offers an exceptional perspective on some of the most intriguing and timely questions in the growing field of comparative constitution making today: when, how, and why democratic constitutions are replaced, and what the consequences might be of such constitutional replacement for the stability and functioning of democracy. The book is essential reading for students and scholars in political science and comparative law, as well as for practitioners in fields of democracy and rule-of-law promotion.'

Hanna Lerner Source: School of Political Science, Government, and International Affairs, Tel Aviv University

'Constitutions are often written as though they are perpetual, but they seldom prove to be. Indeed, calls for constitutional replacement appear to be increasingly common - and not just when an old political order collapses but even within ongoing democratic regimes. How do democracies renew their constitutions and what are the effects on liberal democracy going forward? Gabriel Negretto, Latin America’s foremost expert on constitutional design and reform, has assembled a team of legal and political experts and delivers a framework for understanding how democratic charters can adapt and thrive, as well as how constitutional change can foster democratic erosion.'

John M. Carey Source: Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences, Dartmouth College

‘… this book will be an important reference in relevant fields for years to come. It is a must-read for anyone interested in constitutional redrafting and general institutional reform.- not only scholars and post-graduate students, but also policy makers, advisors, and anyone with a need for a good compendium of theoretical and comparative reflections in the topic. The contributions in Negretto’s excellently edited volume couldn’t be timelier: this is a terrific book to have on hand to read during these times of change.’

Raul A. Sanchez-Urribarri Source: Law and Politics Book Review

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