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Title: The constitution as unfinished business : the making and un-making of power relations in Iraq, 2003-2010
Author: Karam, Salam Kamel
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 0354
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis adopts what it calls a socially embedded definition of constitutions. It argues that while conventional wisdom views constitution-making as a higher track of law making and emphasises the potential contributions of constitutions to peace, democracy and stability, there are important methodological, theoretical and empirical reasons to evaluate institutional engineering in general and constitution making in particular with caution. The thesis directs analytical attention towards the causal effects of underlying historical and political conflicts, attitudes and commitments of actors involved in the process of constitution making, the strategic context wherein the process occurs, and the ongoing and unfinished aspects of constitution-making. It argues that constitutions are neither causes nor solutions to society's problems. Rather than solving the structural conflicts of a society, constitutions frame them and assist in a key task of the state which is the creation of 'zones of relative stability', enabling the society to go on with its political struggle at the expense of future problems. Using a methodology of causal-process observation and in-depth knowledge of Iraq as a case study, through compiling evidence about the links between successive steps in a long causal chain, the thesis shows how the historical legacy of the Iraqi state and the contingent events at the time of constitution-making constrained the available choices for actors involved in the process of constitution-making. It shows how the Iraqi Constitution enabled the continuity of the political community in the teeth of structural conflicts by deferring contradictions in Iraqi society, by invoking constitutional disharmony, by not clearly defining the scope and limits of public organisations' and officials' authority, and by leaving critical matters outside any meaningful mechanism of authority.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral