Constitutional Violence : Legitimacy, Democracy and Human Rights
If constitutional legitimacy is based on violence, what does this mean for democracy?
Almost every state in the world has a written constitution. The great majority of these declare the constitution to be the law controlling the organs of the state. We tend to label western liberal political systems as ‘constitutional democracies’, dividing the system into a domain of politics where the people rule and a domain of law that is set aside for a trained elite. Legal, political and constitutional practices demonstrate that constitutionalism and democracy seem to be irreconcilable. Is good government feasible and is a constitutional system the best device to rule a country? Can the public and legal sovereignties be reconciled?
Antoni Abat i Ninet strives to resolve these apparently exclusive realms of power, using as case study their various avatars across the globe. The American constitutional experience that has dominated western constitutional thought is here challenged as quasi-religious doctrine and the book argues that human rights and democracy must strive to deactivate the ‘invisible’ but very real violence embedded in our seemingly sacrosanct constitutions.