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The competing effect of national uniqueness and comparative influences on constitutional practice

Zaid Al-Ali and Arun K Thiruvengadam, Chapter 33 in Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law, Edited by Mark Tushnet, Thomas Fleiner, Cheryl Saunders, Routledge (2012)

This chapter focuses on theoretical, historical and recent trends in constitutional drafting with a particular focus on how local context and characteristics that are unique to particular countries interact with comparative influences. The latter have played a major role in shaping significant domestic constitutional decisions. This historical fact continues to be manifested in contemporary constitutional cultures. We examine the effect of forces of globalization and other phenomena that have led scholars to suggest that we are in an era of convergence of constitutionalism. Our analysis shows that even as there is a movement towards similar constitutional institutions and principles, significant differences lead us to doubt that the moment of convergence is imminent. Our chapter analyzes these questions by focusing in particular on the experiences of postcolonial constitutions and recent events in the Arab region.

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