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Constitutions as Conventions: A History of Non-reception

  • Andrew Sabl
Chapter

Abstract

Russell Hardin’s theory of constitutions as conventions implies several conclusions that are striking, deep, important, counterintuitive, and very hard to deny. Nevertheless, they have had little influence on the field of political theory. This chapter seeks to explain that through two theses. (1) The theory embarrasses the prevailing schools of political thought (participatory and/or deliberative democracy, “high” or rationalist liberalism, and Cambridge historicism) not just by denying their doctrines but by suggesting the irrelevance of many of their favorite questions. (2) The theory seems, as Hardin presents it, more pessimistic and quietist than it needs to be. This chapter suggests that the theory contains within it under-stressed resources that make room for constant institutional progress and political reform.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Sabl
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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