Digital Tools and Constitutional Reform

Felix-Anselm van Lier’s research focuses on the use of digital tools in constitutional reform.

The digital era has transformed the relationship between the state and its citizens. As states are confronted with more dynamic and complex societies that are increasingly marked by chaotic pluralism and polarization, they will have to find new ways of engaging with the public. Constitutions, and the processes that lead to their adoption, can play a pivotal role in mending political rifts, redefining the relationship between citizens and state institutions, and reinvigorating a sense of identification with the state. Increasingly, digital tools are being used in constitution making to manage public participation and channel the voice of “the people” into a constitutional compact.

This project applies empirical methods to develop a detailed understanding of both the limits and opportunities that technology may offer and how digital democracy tools can be meaningfully integrated into constitution making and beyond. The project’s objectives are (1) to understand the prospects and the legal, political, and technical challenges of the use of digital tools for public participation in constitution making and beyond; (2) to identify avenues to improve the use of digital tools in large-scale, complex constitution-making scenarios; and (3) to address legal, ethical, and theoretical issues emerging from the use of digital participation tools in constitution making.

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