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The Circumstances of Democracy: An Investigation of Global Constitutionalist Scholarship

HOUGHTON, RUTH,ALICE (2018) The Circumstances of Democracy: An Investigation of Global Constitutionalist Scholarship. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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A conceptual understanding of democracy is missing from global constitutionalist discourse. Whilst there are heated debates on the plausibility of transferring democracy to governance systems beyond the state, the discourse lacks grounding in democratic theory. There are discussions on improving participatory or deliberative processes and the mechanisms of accountability, but without further reflection on what makes these processes and mechanisms democratic, the global constitutionalist literature on democratisation falls short of striving towards democracy.

The current debate on democracy spans across two waves of global constitutionalist thought. The first is an organisational wave, which builds on international legal frameworks, and the second is a principled wave that takes theories of constitutionalism as its starting point. The thesis examines the approach to democracy in international legal scholarship and the two waves of global constitutionalist literature, to expose the fragmented nature of the current debates. In response to this fragmentation, this thesis directs the scholarship towards democratic theory as an alternative starting point, whilst also demonstrating the importance of engaging with the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy. This is done by using a new matrix, the Circumstances of Democracy (the Who, What, When, Where and How), which builds on democratic theory to explore the components of democracy. Current global constitutionalist approaches inconsistently prioritise certain components and sidestep others, constructing mere proxies for democracy. Using the Circumstances of Democracy ensures that all the components are considered. Ultimately, this thesis redirects the global constitutionalist literature towards the concept of democracy.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:international law; democracy; global constitutionalism
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 Mar 2018 15:03

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