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Making We the People
Democratic Constitutional Founding in Postwar Japan and South Korea

$122.00 (C)

Part of Comparative Constitutional Law and Policy

  • Date Published: December 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107018822

$ 122.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • What does it mean to say that it is “We the People” who “ordain and establish” a constitution? Who are those sovereign people, and how can they do so? Interweaving history and theory, constitutional scholar Chaihark Hahm and political theorist Sung Ho Kim attempt to answer these perennial questions by revisiting the constitutional politics of postwar Japan and Korea. Together, these experiences demonstrate the infeasibility of the conventional assumption that there is a clearly-bounded sovereign “people” prior to constitution-making which may stand apart from both outside influence and troubled historical legacies. The authors argue that “We the People” only emerges through a deeply transformative politics of constitutional founding and, as such, a democratic constitution and its putative author are mutually constitutive. Highly original and genuinely multidisciplinary, this book will be of interest to scholars of comparative constitutionalism as well as observers of ongoing constitutional debates in Japan and Korea.

    • Offers essential historical background to current constitutional debates in Japan and Korea
    • First comparative study of Japanese and Korean constitutional founding and first scholarly investigation in English of Korea's founding constitution
    • Multidisciplinary approach will be of use to political scientists, legal scholars, sociologists and historians
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Hahm and Kim's extraordinary intellectual achievement provides rare illumination of the crucial and deeply misunderstood concept of popular sovereignty. Their learned, elegant, and searching analysis should be an enduring part of the conversation that must be conducted if we are to make sense of our common constitutional predicament."
    Gary J. Jacobsohn, H. Malcolm Macdonald Professor of Constitutional and Comparative Law, University of Texas, Austin

    "The simultaneous writing of constitutions in twentieth-century Japan and Korea, two countries under heavy American influence, makes an obvious candidate for comparative study yet no such work has been undertaken until now. In Making We the People, Hahm and Kim have dug deeply into both histories and their global context, offering a nuanced and thoughtful account."
    Andrew Gordon, Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, Harvard University

    'Hahm and Kim persuasively argue that we can only discover who 'We the People' named in a constitution are by adopting a broader spatial and temporal lens … that considers external influences, creative uses of the past, and shifting definitions of peoplehood. Making We the People thus contributes significantly to comparative constitutional studies, East Asian studies, and scholarship on nation building and democratic theory.' Celeste L. Arrington, Pacific Affairs

    'Making We the People, by Chaihark Hahm and Sung Ho Kim, is an important addition to the literature on comparative constitutional law generally and on constitution-making in particular, on at least two levels. I recommend it highly in relation to both. … Making We the People is a refreshing and welcome entry into this somewhat messy field. Many of the observations that the authors make, sometimes in passing, offer insights into the enterprise of constitutional renewal that ring true and deserve emphasis.' Cheryl Saunders, ICON

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107018822
    • length: 330 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.61kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The unbearable lightness of the people
    2. War and peace
    3. The ghost of empire past
    4. A room of one's own

  • Authors

    Chaihark Hahm, Yonsei University, Seoul
    Chaihark Hahm is Professor of Constitutional Law at Yonsei University Law School, Seoul, Korea and an editorial board member of I•CON: International Journal of Constitutional Law. He holds law degrees from Yale, Columbia, and Harvard.

    Sung Ho Kim, Yonsei University, Seoul
    Sung Ho Kim is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Social Science Research Institute at Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. He is the author of Max Weber's Politics of Civil Society, which was also published by Cambridge University Press.

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