Democracy and Constitutions

By Allan C. Hutchinson

© 2021

As things stand, a commitment to weak democracy and strong constitutionalism ensures that a range of elite groups, actors, and institutions - political, economic, intellectual, and legal - hold considerable sway over constitutional matters, leaving less room for the participation of ordinary people. With the continued primacy of liberal constitutionalism, constitutional law has come to represent and facilitate the centrality of judicial power and authority. In Democracy and Constitutions, Allan C. Hutchinson warns against this deference to a legal elite on questions of constitutional meaning. For Hutchinson, an over-reliance on constitutional law, and a lack of attention to democratic politics, keeps people from influencing the moral and political character of society; it saps civic energies and relegates ordinary people to the sidelines.

Engaging and provocative, Democracy and Constitutions charts a course away from the elitism of the present and toward a more democratic future, one that re-balances society’s commitment to both democracy and constitutions. Advocating for a strong democracy and weak constitutionalism, this book places ordinary people at the institutional heart of government and politics, arguing that such a re-calibration is better for democracy and for society.

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Product Details

  • Series: UTP Insights
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 160 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Bold and unconventional, this book advocates for an institutional turn-about in the relationship between democracy and constitutionalism.


Democracy and Constitutions

By Allan C. Hutchinson

© 2021

As things stand, a commitment to weak democracy and strong constitutionalism ensures that a range of elite groups, actors, and institutions - political, economic, intellectual, and legal - hold considerable sway over constitutional matters, leaving less room for the participation of ordinary people. With the continued primacy of liberal constitutionalism, constitutional law has come to represent and facilitate the centrality of judicial power and authority. In Democracy and Constitutions, Allan C. Hutchinson warns against this deference to a legal elite on questions of constitutional meaning. For Hutchinson, an over-reliance on constitutional law, and a lack of attention to democratic politics, keeps people from influencing the moral and political character of society; it saps civic energies and relegates ordinary people to the sidelines.

Engaging and provocative, Democracy and Constitutions charts a course away from the elitism of the present and toward a more democratic future, one that re-balances society’s commitment to both democracy and constitutions. Advocating for a strong democracy and weak constitutionalism, this book places ordinary people at the institutional heart of government and politics, arguing that such a re-calibration is better for democracy and for society.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: UTP Insights
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 160 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Allan Hutchinson is a distinguished research professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.
  • Table of contents

    1. Democracy and Constitutions: A Fresh Beginning
    2. A Constitutionalist State of Mind: A Deeper Look
    3. Constitutional Origins: Undemocratic Beginnings?
    4. A Higher Justice: Some Fundamental Problems
    5. Making Changes: Constitutional Updates
    6. Striving for Democracy: An Endless Journey
    7. Towards ‘Democratic’ Courts: A Salvage Operation
    8. A Time for Change: Democratic Constitutions
    9. Beyond Courts: Toward Democratic Institutions
    10. Laughing and Remembering: Putting Democracy First

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