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Post-Soviet Transformative Constitutionalism?

Somerset House East Wing, Strand Campus, London

7 Nov
Human Rights, Development and Global Justice Series
Part of Human Rights, Development and Global Justice Series

Abstract: In Europe, Latin America, and Asia, transformative constitutionalism has seen written constitutions emerge as powerful instruments for breaking with an authoritarian past. Yet, transformative constitutionalism remains largely unrealised in the former Soviet republics.  With the exception of the Baltic states, most post-Soviet states have rejected transformative constitutionalism and instead have built centralized presidential regimes. Underpinning this authoritarian resilience is a deeply-rooted discourse that views transformative constitutionalism as a Western concept ill-suited to the particular challenges of the region.  This particularist discourse instead views a strong and centralized state as necessary for overcoming unique post-Soviet problems.  As the state weakness of the immediate post-Soviet era recedes in the face of rising corruption, however, this centralized state discourse is weakening. Transformative constitutionalism’s future prospects will hinge on its ability to justify itself as a better method for tackling the unique post-Soviet challenges of the 21st century.


Speaker bio: William Partlett is an Associate Professor at Melbourne Law School. Professor Partlett’s research takes a historical and comparative approach to questions of public law.  Before coming to Melbourne, Professor Partlett was an Assistant Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Columbia University Law School, and a Fellow at The Brookings Institution. Professor Partlett holds a JD from Stanford Law School as well as a DPhil in Soviet History and MPhil in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Oxford (where he was a Clarendon Scholar). He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Public Policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and speaks Russian.


About the Human Rights, Development and Global Justice Series

Our series aims to create an open, interdisciplinary academic platform for the discussion of issues related to human rights, development and global justice. Special attention is given to the global south, but not to the exclusion of other places.

We hope to generate exchanges furthering academic insight and creativity, to strengthen the School’s connections with scholars around the world, and to enrich undergraduate and postgraduate teaching curricula among the School’s wide offering of modules related to the jurisprudence of human rights, transnational human rights, and global justice more widely.

The events series is currently convened by Professor Eva Pils. It is supported by funding provided by The Dickson Poon School of Law. This event is also sponsored by the Transnational Law Institute. For information about other events in the series, please visit the King's College London website.

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