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26 April 2016

Kuperman’s New Volume Reviewed in the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar and CCAPS researcher Alan Kuperman’s new book,Constitutions and Conflict Management in Africa: Preventing Civil War Through Institutional Design, was recently reviewed by Mia Swart, Professor of International Law at the University of Johannesburg, in the International Journal of Constitutional Law. Swart describes the book as ambitious, optimistic, and outstanding.

Swart writes that Kuperman’s new volume seeks to answer the question, how can a constitution manage ethnic tensions in moments of crisis or shock? Beginning with countries that have chosen an accommodative constitutional design, the book then addresses case studies of integrative design. As Swart points out, the volume wisely considers implementation as well. Kuperman suggests that constitutional design, when implemented well, can help buffer shocks, and even prevent them. The volume concludes with a recommendation for gradual reform to build and strengthen liberal institutions, rather than suddenly replacing integrative designs with fully accommodative constitutions.

Swart suggests that some of the volume’s authors could have gone into more depth on the role of international aid and international engagement. However, she concludes that the book “fills a gap in the market as there are relatively few sophisticated analyses of African constitutional design and its relationship with conflict management. Lawyers, political scientists, and anyone interested in international affairs and in how peace can finally be attained on the African continent, will greatly benefit from reading this outstanding collection.”

The full review is available here.

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