Constitutions: Writing Nations, Reading Difference by Judith Pryor

By Judith Pryor

Bringing a postcolonial point of view to united kingdom constitutional debates and together with an in depth and comparative engagement with the constitutions of Britain’s ex-colonies, this e-book is an unique mirrored image upon the connection among the written and the unwritten structure. Can a state have an unwritten structure? whereas written constitutions either came across and outline smooth countries, Britain is often considered as one of many only a few exceptions to this rule. Drawing on quite a number theories bearing on writing, legislation and violence (from Robert disguise to Jacques Derrida), Constitutions makes a theoretical intervention into traditional constitutional analyses via problematizing the idea of a ‘written structure’ on which they're dependent. positioned in the body of the previous British empire, this e-book deconstructs the traditional competition among the ‘margins’ and the ‘centre’, in addition to among the ‘written’ and ‘unwritten’, by means of paying very shut, specific consciousness to the constitutional texts below consideration. Pryor argues that Britain’s ‘unwritten’ structure and ‘immemorial’ universal legislations basically tackle which means in a relation of distinction with the written constitutions of its former colonies. those texts, in flip, draw in this pre-literate starting place with the intention to legitimize themselves. The ‘unwritten’ structure of england can hence be positioned and dislocated in postcolonial written constitutions. Constitutions is a superb addition to the bookshelves of all scholars of the philosophy of legislation, political thought, constitutional and administrative legislation and jurisprudence.

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Extra resources for Constitutions: Writing Nations, Reading Difference

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It must ‘first’ so to speak ‘happen’ . . 56 Understanding of – and writings about – any originary event – such as, for example, the Easter Rising, the First Fleet’s arrival in Australia, or the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi – comes with the benefit of hindsight or retrospective understanding, which orders a coherent narrative of explanation. 58 That is, interpretations of an event strive to understand it in its fullness, seeking a return to the originary moment by means of a synthesis of analysis.

Within Europe, the state, previously embodied in the monarch as a sovereign, increasingly came to be defined by the people, represented in a sovereign legislature. The enfranchisement of marginal groups, including both women and the working classes, continued throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At the same time, the nation states of Europe constituted their sense of self not only in relation to each other, but also in relation to their developing empires: the nation state at the origin or centre of its empire was defined in opposition to its colonies and annexed territories.

Writing Much political philosophy deals with nations that have been well established in a mythic, pre-literate time, largely concurring that, as well as protection, the important components of nation-building are the establishment of common origins, constructing an other against which a nation can define itself, and the creation of a collective memory in the form of history. The social contract or covenant to which Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and others refer is rather an agreement that ‘goes without saying’, so long established that it does not need to be written down.

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