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Article Title

Constitutional Listening

Abstract

This article explores a particular methodology of comparative constitutional analysis that it calls "constitutional listening." Derived from the interpretive "principle of charity," constitutional listening involves interpreting constitutional discourse of other polities in their best light. This includes not simply polities whose constitutional structures and values resemble our own, but perhaps even more importantly, polities and constitutional systems whose values and structures seem alien to us. The value of this methodology, it is argued, lies in its ability to expand our understanding of the diversity of experiences that have gone into the human project of constitutionalism, and in the diversity of human possibilities that the project provokes. The utility of this methodology will be demonstrated by applying it to the debate surrounding the drafting of the Property Law in the People's Republic of China ca. 2006–2007.

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