Bridging Comparative Politics and Comparative Constitutional Law: Constitutional Design for Divided Societies

Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Intergration or Accommodation? S. Choudhry, ed., Oxford University Press, 2008

U Toronto, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-01

39 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2008 Last revised: 14 Sep 2017

See all articles by Sujit Choudhry

Sujit Choudhry

Center for Global Constitutionalism, WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

How should political communities respond to the opportunities and challenges raised by ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural differences, and, through these responses, thereby promote democracy, social justice, peace, and stability? This is one of the most difficult and important issues of contemporary politics. I term these cases, collectively, “divided societies.” As a category of political and constitutional analysis, this term does not refer to just those societies that are ethnically, linguistically, religiously, or culturally diverse. What particularly identifies a divided society is that these differences are politically salient — that is, they are persistent markers of political identity as well as bases for political mobilization. Political claims are refracted through the lens of identity, and, thus, political conflict can become synonymous with conflict among ethnocultural groups. How divided societies cope with these challenges is of the highest practical importance. Although comparative experience must figure centrally in constitutional politics, particularly when it comes to framing constitutional settlements, comparative constitutional law as a scholarly discipline has largely been missing in action. To be relevant to the other pressing problems of modern constitutionalism, comparative constitutional law must expand its intellectual agenda.

Keywords: constitutional law, comparative politics, comparative law, constitutional theory

Suggested Citation

Choudhry, Sujit, Bridging Comparative Politics and Comparative Constitutional Law: Constitutional Design for Divided Societies (2008). Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Intergration or Accommodation? S. Choudhry, ed., Oxford University Press, 2008; U Toronto, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1287619

Sujit Choudhry (Contact Author)

Center for Global Constitutionalism, WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

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