Visiblizing the Invisible Hand: China & Non-Regulatory Constitutionalism
A talk by Michael W. Dowdle
Monday, October 13, 2003
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
11377 Bunche Hall
The dynamics of "constitutionalism" are critically connected to the social organization of work. Our received model of what constitutes "constitutionalism" is very much the product of late 19th century industrialization, and it presumes social dynamics that only first appeared in that era. There is reason to doubt how useful this model is for understanding "constitutionalism" in social-political environments for which these presumptions are unwarranted -- what some are coming to refer to as "non-regulatory" environments. There is also good reason to suspect that China is such an environment. One promising way to explore how constitutionalism works in non-regulatory environments is by adopting an inductive approach. Such an approach starts by looking for "incidents of constitutionalism" and then sees if aggregating patterns can be found that give larger meaning to these instances. Using William Alford and Benjamin Liebman's recent regulatory analysis of the political-constitutional dynamics surrounding the passage and implementation of the 1995 Clean Air Law and its 1999 Amendments as a foil, we can see how such an inductive approach to constitutionalism can reveal potentially important constitutional dynamics and locales in China's particular non-regulatory constitutional environment that more traditional, regulatory analyses tend to overlook.
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Michael W. Dowdle is Fellow in Public Law in the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet) and the Law Program of the Australian National University Research School of Social Sciences. His research interests include exploring China's constitutional experiences in order to develop comparative understandings of indigenous constitutional and legal development.
Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies