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Coping with Conflict at Constitutional Moments

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  • Johan P. Olsen

Abstract

It is a commonplace to argue that democracies require constitutional rules in order to function well; in particular, such rules facilitate conflict resolution and secure a civilized co-existence. Democratic governance signifies an ability to purposefully shape political and social life; institutions are thus instrumentally perceived and constitutional change is seen as engineering of formal rules and structures in order to improve human conditions. However, actual reforms are usually incremental rather than comprehensive and attempts at re-constituting government through radical reform often create stalemate, confrontation and crisis. The theme of this paper is the dynamics through which political order and organized government is constituted and re-constituted; attention is on how basic political rules evolve and change and on the possible significance of reflection, deliberate design and explicit constitutional policy ( Verfassungspolitik ).

Suggested Citation

  • Johan P. Olsen, 2002. "Coping with Conflict at Constitutional Moments," ARENA Working Papers 23, ARENA.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:arenax:p0086
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    Keywords

    constitution building; democracy; legitimacy; Constitution for Europe;

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