Constitutions Under Stress

Project summary

This interdisciplinary project, which includes academics from the UK, France, and the United States, will identify and explore the issues that underlie constitutional instability.  It will answer questions concerning public and cultural attitudes about the constitution; the operation of the constitution vis-à-vis legislative and executive power; the power of the judiciary; and popular and parliamentary sovereignty, among others.

Constitutions under Stress held a successful third workshop in June 2017, which was funded by the BII. Sudhir Hazareesingh gave the keynote address: ‘Is the French State Still Viable? The Jacobin Model and its Challenges,’ which was attended by the workshop participants as well as members of university community. Sanford Levinson, University of Texas, Austin spoke on constitutional reform in the United States: ‘When Americans Think about Constitutional Reform: Some Data and Reflections.’ Other speakers included Deborah Thebault and Scot Peterson on church-state relations in the United States and France, Stuart White on parliaments, constitutional conventions and parliamentary sovereignty, and Aileen McHarg and Alain Laquieze on the EU referendum. Three more workshops are planned for the series; the next one will take place in Paris in December 2016.

Lead investigator

Dr. Scot Peterson, Bingham Research Fellow in Constitutional Studies and Junior Research Fellow, Balliol College, University of Oxford

Research team

Christophe Bellon, History, Law, Universite Catholique de Lille              

Jean-­‐Félix de Bujadoux, Law, Universite de Paris II           

Jean Garrigues, Contemporary History, Universite d’Orleans

Alain Laquièze, Law, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

Sandy Levinson, Faculty of Law and Department of Government, University of Texas-Austin

Aileen McHarg, Law Department, University of Strathclyde           

Iain McLean, Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford

Déborah Thebault, Law, University of Oxford and Universite de Paris V

Richard Toye, History, Exeter University

Nicolas Roussellier, Political History, Sciences Po           

Contact details for enquiries

Please email the lead investigator, Dr. Scot Peterson, for any queries regarding this project.