Answer to Question #278109 in Political Science for Kay

Question #278109

explain the relationship between democratization and constitutional reform in the English speaking Caribbean

Expert's answer

The relationship between democracy and constitutions is a long and fractious one. Walker sketches the development of constitutional thinking on the relations between constitutionalism and democracy from the quasi-organic, biological metaphor of the ‘constitution’ as the state of the commonwealth understood as a body politic to a more abstract notion leading to a situation in which the ‘constitution’ was associated with a legal document summing up the principles governing the political community. This provides, Walker asserts, the key to understanding how in its original conception modern constitutionalism came to stand in tension with democracy, in as much as the law and the constitution in the age of totalitarianism were an instrument rather than the source of sovereign power, whereas modern constitutionalism reversed this relationship. Those who lean towards the constitutionalist side have tended to perceive democracy as a threat to political order and the preservation of important values, whereas those who take a more democrats’ stance tend to treat constitutions as elite hindrances to popular rule as much as anything else. However, today the prevailing view is decidedly more constitutionalist than democratized.  

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