Javier Garcia Oliva and Helen Hall

Oct 17, 2023

Constitutional Culture, Independence, and Rights

Insights from Quebec, Scotland, and Catalonia

University of Toronto Press 2023

In Constitutional Culture, Independence, and Rights: Insights from Quebec, Scotland, and Catalonia (University of Toronto Press, 2023), Dr. Javier García Oliva and Dr. Helen Hall coin the term "constitutional culture" to encapsulate the collective rules and expectations that govern the collective life within a jurisdiction. Significantly, these shared norms have both legal and social elements, including matters as diverse as standards of parenting, the modus operandi of police officers, and taboos around sexuality. Using Quebec, Scotland, and Catalonia as case studies, the book delves into what these constitutional battles mean for the rights, identity, and needs of everyday people, and it powerfully demonstrates why the hypothetical future independence of these regions would have far-reaching practical consequences, beyond the realm of political structures and academic theory.

The book does not present a magic bullet to resolve debates around independence – this is not its purpose, and the text in fact demonstrates why there is no objectively optimal approach in any or all contexts. Instead, it seeks to shed light on aspects of these situations often overlooked in discussions around the fate of nations, and it addresses what the consequences of constitutional paradigm shifts might be for individuals. Constitutional culture is a complex web of interconnected understandings and behaviours, and the vibrations from shaking or cutting a fundamental strand will be felt throughout the structure.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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