Workshops: "Democratic Consolidation and Constitutional Endurance: Uneven Pathways in Asia and Africa"

15-25 June 2021

From 15-25 June, CTN Convenors Dinesha Samararatne and Tom Daly, with Dr Asanga Welikala (Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law) organised a series of six drafting workshops for their forthcoming collection with Oxford University Press: Democratic Consolidation and Constitutional Endurance: Uneven Pathways in Asia and Africa. The collection seeks to advance the field of constitution-building by elaborating theory afresh on the basis of understudied states that have undergone an understudied democratising event in the past five years, with a variety of outcomes. The aim is to allow the experiences of these states to more fully inform our theoretical understandings of democratic consolidation and constitutional endurance – if not quite with a ‘clean slate’, at least less encumbered by existing understandings based on extensively studied states such as South Africa, Colombia, and India.

The workshops brought together the 21 contributors for the collection, including authors of the seven country reports – on Ethiopia, The Gambia, Malaysia, The Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand – and authors of thematic chapters on processes of constitutional development, the roles of governing institutions, courts, and political parties, constitutional cultures (authored by CTN Convenor Cheryl Saunders), centralisation and decentralisation, systemic corruption, civil-military relations, and the Impact of COVID-19. The sessions underscored the importance of the collection’s aim in enhancing the diversity of voices in the global conversation on constitution-building. By bringing together a mix of scholars and practitioners, early career and established experts, scholars from the countries studied, and majority of female contributors, the discussions yielded an array of new insights and nuance to our understandings of the way in which the relationship between institutional resilience and democratic development is understood. The discussions were closed but live tweeted under Chatham House rules using the hashtag #DemAsiaAfrica.