Constitution-making and the Transformation of Conflict

Hart, Vivien (2001) Constitution-making and the Transformation of Conflict. Peace and Change, 26 (2). pp. 153-176. ISSN 0149-0508

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Abstract

A constitution has traditionally been seen as the documentary record of a settlement of conflict. This traditional constitution is an enactive document, consummating the creation of a polity. Constitution-making has been a widespread practice in the many conflicted and divided societies of the late twentieth century. The issues of recent conflicts are concerned with the recognition of identities as well as with provisions for the legitimate exercise of power. This agenda necessitates a process as important as the product, both open-ended and open to participation. I propose that we reconsider constitution-making as itself a part of the process of conflict transformation. Defining constitution-making as a forum for negotiation or a continuing conversation amid conflict and division draws attention to the distinctive characteristics of modern constitutionalism and to the ways in which this process helps or hinders the transformation of conflict. Examples are drawn from recent constitution-making in Canada, Northern Ireland, and South Africa.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > American Studies
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:16
Last Modified: 30 May 2012 13:14
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/19850
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