Constitutionalism between Democracy and Autocracy in the post-Soviet Space

The purpose of this course is to explore some of the problems and curiosities involved in the design and amendment of constitutions in the autocratic and hybrid regimes in Eastern Europe and the Post Soviet Space. We will focus on the formal aspects of a constitution, in particular institutional aspects of its design, making and the formal amendment. Interpretation will be a smaller part of the discussion. We will for example ask how constitutions function under non-democratic conditions and what their purpose beyond a sham might be. The background assumption is that constitutions serve different purposes in autocratic and hybrid regimes - in particular allow for a stabilization of the autocratic rule in the nascent stages of a transformation. This means we will engage with the theoretical contributions regarding constitutionalism, power relations as well as types of democracy and autocracy. We will aim to (re)connect these broad research strands and apply them to specific research puzzles. The reading list refers among others to the theoretical contributions on varieties of autocracies Diamond (2002), Levitzky and Way (2002), Gandhi (2008), as well as Geddes, Wright and Frantz (2016). For the ambiguous perspective on constitutionalism in non-democratic contexts we will read among other several contributions out of Ginsburg and Simpser (2013), Holmes and Sunstein (1995), Tushnet (2013), Isiksel (2013), Albertus and Menaldo (2012) and (2013), and Brown (2001) and many, many more.

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