Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration or by Sujit Choudhry

By Sujit Choudhry

How may still constitutional layout reply to the possibilities and demanding situations raised by means of ethnic, linguistic, spiritual, and cultural modifications, and accomplish that in ways in which advertise democracy, social justice, peace and balance? this is often the most tough questions dealing with societies on this planet at the present time.

There are colleges of proposal on how one can solution this query. less than the heading of "accommodation", a few have argued for the necessity to realize, institutionalize and empower modifications. there are a selection of constitutional tools to be had to accomplish this objective, resembling multinational federalism and administrative decentralization, criminal pluralism (e.g. spiritual own law), other kinds of non-territorial minority rights (e.g. minority language and non secular schooling rights), consociationalism, affirmative motion, legislative quotas, and so on. yet others have countered that such practices may possibly entrench, perpetuate and exacerbate the very divisions they're designed to regulate. They suggest more than a few substitute ideas that fall lower than the rubric of "integration" that might blur, go beyond and cross-cut adjustments. Such ideas contain debts of rights enshrining common human rights enforced by means of judicial evaluation, regulations of disestablishment (religious and ethnocultural), federalism and electoral structures designed in particular to incorporate participants of other teams in the similar political unit and to disperse contributors of an analogous team throughout varied devices, are a few examples.

In this quantity, best students of constitutional legislation, comparative politics and political idea handle the controversy at a conceptual point, in addition to via a variety of kingdom case-studies, via an interdisciplinary lens, yet with a criminal and institutional focus.

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After describing and illustrating each set of strategies with concrete examples—and the different variations within each set—they offer a preliminary assessment of the success of each in promoting justice, stability, and democracy. The volume as a whole is structured as a series of responses to the overview chapter. One set of responses is theoretical in nature, and addresses the questions of whether the dichotomy between integration and accommodation is the correct way to understand the choice in constitutional design for divided societies, and if so, whether one or the other strategy is the preferable one.

Integration is a realistic alternative, precisely because crosscutting identities exist and can be fostered. Accommodationists counter that integrationist policies do not work in divided societies because segmental divisions are real. Promoting integration in this context “creates at best an unstable equilibrium” that leads to assimilation, accommodation, or secession. In conclusion, McGarry, O’Leary, and Simeon believe that the success of integration or accommodation is a product of demography.

As McGarry, O’Leary, and Simeon note, they hold to this position even when ethnicity has served as the basis of political mobilization, because “ethnic identities are seldom as longstanding or as deep as supporters of accommodation suggest”. Political identities are malleable, and crosscutting cleavages, even if absent, can be fostered. These fundamentally different assumptions over the durability of politically mobilized ethnocultural identities reframe the debate over constitutional design for divided societies.

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