Constitutionalism in the Global South
The purpose of this Working Group is to explore whether the distinction sometimes drawn between the Global South and the Global North has any relevance to the comparative study of constitutionalism. While some scepticism about the usefulness of this distinction has been expressed, particularly when deployed as a variable in quantitative empirical research, it is used in other fields of research, such as anthropology and international law. In more qualitative research in comparative constitutional law, too, the term ‘Global South’ has been used to identify a common set of constitutional challenges experienced by previously colonised countries, including weakly developed legal and political institutions, stark inequalities of wealth (including marked differences in social mobility and economic opportunity between metropolitan and rural populations), and often very aspirational constitutions that contemplate a greater role for constitutional law in transforming unjust social and economic relations. While breaking new ground, this line of research is currently at a very embryonic stage, with only a few journal articles and edited anthologies published to date. In light of this, more discussion is required of the usefulness of the term ‘Global South’ as an analytic category, the distinctiveness of the constitutional challenges to which it refers, and generally whether some of the traditional preoccupations of the field need to be rethought when considered through a Global South lens.