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Delegating Rights ProtectionThe Rise of Bills of Rights in the Westminster World$
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David Erdos

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557769

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557769.001.0001

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Theorizing the origins of bills of rights

Theorizing the origins of bills of rights

(p.23) 3 Theorizing the origins of bills of rights
Delegating Rights Protection

David Erdos (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The first part of this chapter explores in detail the Postmaterialist Trigger Thesis (PTT) explanation of bill of rights genesis in internally stable, advanced democracies. It argues that, as a result of postmaterialist socio‐economic change, background pressure for a bill of rights has increased. Nevertheless, by enhancing judicial power, the bill of rights genesis continues to conflict with the prima facie positional interests of the political elite. Therefore, the supply of a bill of rights also requires a contingent political trigger which provides actors with an immediate rationale for change. Two such triggers – the ‘aversive’ and the ‘threat to political stability’ – are outlined. The second part of the chapter explores existing theories in the literature which relate to, but may also conflict with, the PTT. Specific theories discussed include, in relation to the background pressure aspect of the PTT, constructivist theory, institutionalist theory, transnational diffusion theory, and the Knowledge Class Thesis, and, in relation to the contingent trigger or supply‐side aspects, neo‐marxist theory, Political Insurance Thesis, and the Hegemonic Preservation Thesis.

Keywords:   postmaterialist trigger thesis, political trigger, aversive constitutionalism, postmaterialism, individualization, legal formalization, civil liberties, social equality, constitutionalization, judicial power

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