Making Constitutions in Deeply Divided Societies

Hanna Lerner, MAKING CONSTITUTIONS IN DEEPLY DIVIDED SOCIETIES, Cambridge University Press, June 2011

12 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2011

See all articles by Hanna Lerner

Hanna Lerner

School of Political Science, Government and International Affairs, Tel Aviv University

Date Written: June 1, 2011

Abstract

How can societies still grappling over the common values and shared vision of their state draft a democratic constitution? This is the central puzzle of Making Constitutions in Deeply Divided Societies, of which the introduction chapter is presented. While most theories discuss constitution-making in the context of a moment of revolutionary change, the book argues that an incrementalist approach to constitution-making can enable societies riven by deep internal disagreements to either enact a written constitution or function with an unwritten one. It illustrates the process of constitution-writing in three deeply divided societies – Israel, India and Ireland – and explores the various incrementalist strategies deployed by their drafters. These include the avoidance of clear decisions, the use of ambivalent legal language and the inclusion of contrasting provisions in the constitution. Such techniques allow the deferral of controversial choices regarding the foundational aspects of the polity to future political institutions, thus enabling the constitution to reflect a reality of divided identity.

Keywords: constitutions, constitution writing, identity, Israel, India, Ireland

Suggested Citation

Lerner, Hanna, Making Constitutions in Deeply Divided Societies (June 1, 2011). Hanna Lerner, MAKING CONSTITUTIONS IN DEEPLY DIVIDED SOCIETIES, Cambridge University Press, June 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1921684

Hanna Lerner (Contact Author)

School of Political Science, Government and International Affairs, Tel Aviv University ( email )

Tel Aviv
Israel

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