Law and Revolution: Legitimacy and Constitutionalism After the Arab Spring

Nimer Sultany
Pub date
Feb 2020
Oxford Constitutional Theory
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Taking the Arab Spring as its case study, this book explores the role of law and constitutions during societal upheavals, and critically evaluates the different trajectories they could follow in a revolutionary setting. It urges a rethinking of major categories in political, legal, and constitutional theory in light of the Arab Spring. The book is a novel and comprehensive examination of the constitutional order that preceded and followed the Arab Spring in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Jordan, Algeria, Oman, and Bahrain. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources, including an in-depth analysis of recent court rulings in several Arab countries, the book illustrates the contradictory roles of law and constitutions. The book also contrasts the Arab Spring with other revolutionary situations and demonstrates how the Arab Spring provides a laboratory for examining scholarly ideas about revolutions, legitimacy, legality, continuity, popular sovereignty, and constituent power. With a new preface from the author addressing developments in the Arab Spring.


Part I: Legitimacy
1 Legitimation Crisis
2 Constitutional Legitimation I
3 Constitutional Legitimation II
4 Revolution
Part II: Revolution and Legality
5 Legal Continuity
6 Law's Contradictions
7 Popular Sovereignty
Part III: Revolution and Constitution
8 Revolutionary Constitution Making
9 Reformist Constitution Making
10 Constituent Power

About the author: 

Nimer Sultany is Senior Lecturer in Public Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He holds an SJD from Harvard Law School; an LL.M. from University of Virginia; an LL.M. from Tel Aviv University; and an LL.B. from the College of Management. He was a recipient of the British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship and the Baldy Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Legal Studies at SUNY Buffalo Law School.

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