Constitutional Idolatry and Literacy in Times of Crisis
The panel interrogates the various postures that can, and should, be adopted by the general public vis-à-vis the constitution, in particular when the State is experiencing a crisis. A rise in authoritarian tendencies has cropped up around the world, making it worthwhile to explore how a genuine understanding of and identification with constitutional precepts can empower citizens to rise to the occasion. Responses to the Covid19 pandemic have also led to dramatic changes in the operation of government and unprecedented restrictions on citizen movement that affect constitutional precepts. Drawing on a diverse range of national experiences, panellists will amongst others consider whether a state of crisis has sparked a greater concern for and commitment to written constitutions – the factors that shape public attitudes in relation to these texts – much value should ideally be ascribed to constitutions and the realization thereof in theory and practice.