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Institutions For Future Generations$
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Iñigo González-Ricoy and Axel Gosseries

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746959.001.0001

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Archiving for the Future

Archiving for the Future

The Party Constitution

Chapter:
(p.352) 21 Archiving for the Future
Source:
Institutions For Future Generations
Author(s):

Jonathan White

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746959.003.0021

Political parties in contemporary Western democracy are widely observed to be short-termist, their gaze extending little further than the next opinion poll. This presents a problem for those, within and beyond parties, who might look to such organizations as ways to advance long-term projects extending beyond the lifespans of individuals. How can parties be encouraged to take the longer view? The chapter examines the role of the party constitution, by which members commit to certain long-term goals and seek to bind their successors to these. Proceeding from a discussion of how constitutions in this context should be conceived, it looks at what they can achieve, and why they often fall short. It goes on to consider the mechanisms by which partisans might be held to their constitutional commitments (or induced to account for their sacrifice), notably by systematically publicizing what these commitments are.

Keywords:   political party, constitution, living constitution, future, fidelity, revisionism, publicity, archive

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