Distrusting Democrats: Outcomes of Participatory Constitution Making

Citation:

Moehler, Devra C. 2008. Distrusting Democrats: Outcomes of Participatory Constitution Making. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
Distrusting Democrats: Outcomes of Participatory Constitution Making

Abstract:

The late twentieth century's wave of democratization has offered a laboratory to understand better the dynamics of democracy. In Distrusting Democrats Harvard Academy Scholar Devra C. Moehler addresses the question: does participation in democratic politics - in this case Uganda's constitution-making from 1988-1995 - strengthen democracy? Distrusting Democrats is based on a survey of 820 Ugandan citizens, all of voting age as constitution writing, discussion and voting took place. Her analysis nuances traditional expectations that participation alone is conducive to democratic attitudes. Moehler's study shows that involvement in fledgling democratic politics stimulates participation, but may also produce what she terms “distrusting democrats” - informed, experienced, yet disappointed citizens whose political involvement raised expectations that were not met. Distrusting Democrats explores this phenomenon, and suggests how democratic participation may ultimately be made more widely supportive of democratic government.