Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.)

First Advisor

Professor W. Michael Reisman

Abstract

Articulating a contemporary narrative of constitutional change in Mexico has been my chief preoccupation over the last four years. The coexistence of a constitutional order based on a monistic democratic model in which normal politics are the exclusive track for constitutional-making and a strong symbolic power of the constitution, has resulted in a seemingly unassailable rampart against the more modern approaches of constitutionalism in which the People are increasingly claiming ownership of the constitution. Furthermore, enduring constitutional inheritances that are no longer suited to present practices, perspectives, expectations and demands muddle further meaningful constitutional change. Authoritarian inheritances coexist with pressing new demands for self-government. Over the last two decades, Mexico’s transition to democracy has been akin to a child learning to walk. A satisfactory democratic outcome has not been achieved, because the constitutive process of authoritative decision-making, a critical part of any transition, has not departed from the traditional Mexican decision-making process. This has been a process that supported an authoritarian regime in which a one-party elite monopolized the power of decision-making. At the center of the problem of transition in Mexico— and perhaps other similarly situated states— is (as we will see) the dichotomy between power and authority, as well as the identity of the effective participants in the constitutive process.

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