[P5076] Constitutions in the Contemporary Middle East: (How) do they still matter?

Created by David Mednicoff
Thursday, 11/15/18 5:30pm


Among the many efforts to realize the sociopolitical hopes of the 2011 Arab Uprisings was a focus on constitutionalism in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia, as well as on enhancing and further institutionalizing the rule of law in other Arab countries, Iran and Turkey. With recent politics in the MENA trending towards re-enforced authoritarianism and, in some places, the breakdown of order into sustained civil war, the impact and implications of new constitutions is unclear. What, if anything, do recent constitutions mean in the broader sociopolitical context of the MENA? What does the experience of constitutional promulgation, and broader public attention to legal norms and institutions, suggest more broadly that might be relevant to the understanding of the MENA, and/or the fields of comparative constitutionalism and comparative politics?

The members of this proposed panel will bring diverse training in social science and law, and extensive experience with issues of comparative constitutional politics in the MENA and elsewhere, to a set of papers that will consider MENA constitutionalism in diverse ways, and that will set aside time for the panelists to consider broader implications of legal change in the MENA in discussion with each other and the audience. Approaches to the topic will include analysis of the effects and relevance of Tunisia's 2014 constitution, discussion of how contemporary MENA constitutionalism echoes and links to normative foundations of Islamic popular sovereignty, and a comparative argument about how constitutional drafters in Morocco, Turkey and elsewhere adapt, rather than actually borrow, important language or normative meaning from foreign constitutions for their own political purposes.

Overall, the panel promises to be a rigorous contribution to how constitutional, and broader legal, politics in the contemporary MENA might inform the fields comparative law and politics in light of specific regional and global tendencies towards renewed authoritarianism and challenges to the rule of law.


Law; Pol Science



David Mednicoff

(University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Asli Bali

(UCLA School of Law)
Panel Participating Role(s): Co-Author; Organizer;
Bali, Asli (University of California, Los Angeles) - Abstract Second Author