Zoekresultaat: 2 artikelen

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Jaar 2010 x
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Access_open Constitutionalism and the Incompleteness of Democracy

A Reply to Four Critics

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 3 2010
Trefwoorden constitutionalism, globalization, democracy, modernity, postnational
Auteurs Neil Walker
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This reply to critics reinforces and further develops a number of conclusions of the original paper. First, it answers the charge that it is biased in its discussion of the relative standing of constitutionalism and democracy today, tending to take the authority of the former for granted and concentrating its critical attention unduly on the incompleteness of democracy, by arguing that contemporary constitutionalism is deeply dependent upon democracy. Secondly, it reiterates and extends the claim of the original paper that the idea and practice of democracy is unable to supply its own resources in the development of just forms of political organization. Thirdly, it defends its key understanding of the overall relationship between democracy and constitutionalism as a ‘double relationship’, involving both mutual support and mutual tension. A fourth and last point is concerned to demonstrate how the deeper philosophical concerns raised by the author about the shifting relationship between democracy and constitutionalism and the conceptual reframing they prompt are important not just as an explanatory and evaluative window on an evolving configuration of political relations but also as an expression of that evolution, and to indicate how this new conceptual frame might condition how we approach the question of a democracy-sensitive institutional architecture for the global age.


Neil Walker
Neil Walker is Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

    How can the social environment of a prison be accurately assessed? Why is it important to measure? How should the prison experience be represented in empirical research? How do we capture distinctions between prisons, which can be good or bad in so many different ways? There is considerable consensus about the inadequacy of narrow and selective performance measures, such as hours spent in purposeful activity or serious assaults, in representing prison quality. The difficulties are both methodological and conceptual. This paper will outline one attempt to address these questions in England and Wales. Based on a series of studies aimed at identifying and measuring aspects of prison life that ‘matter most’, prisoners describe stark differences in the moral and emotional climates of prisons serving apparently similar functions. The ‘differences that matter’ are in the domain of interpersonal relationships and treatment. A developmental programme of empirical research on the quality of life in prison suggests that (a) some prisons are more survivable than others and (b) important differences in identifiable aspects of prison quality exist and may be related to outcomes. These findings have implications for our understanding of the meaning of terms like ‘inhuman and degrading’ treatment as well as for our uses and expectations of the prison.


Alison Liebling
Alison Liebling is hoogleraar Criminology & Criminal Justice aan de Universiteit van Cambridge en is directeur van het Prison Research Centre.
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