chapter  7
21 Pages

Constitutional preambles and the uncertain future

ByNomi Claire Lazar

This chapter discusses the forms of uncertainty written constitutions aim to control may be misidentified, raising spectres for constitutional politics. It begins with an analysis of the future orientation of constitutions. The chapter also argues that only in the presence of continuity can constitutions manage future uncertainty. It also argues that constructed around the event of the constitution, may serve as a rhetorical frame, a conception of the flow of time which implies what the constitution – as a political event – means, implying too the shape of the future it purports to enable. The constitution is thus cast as a pivot which points the direction forward, and this, too, is a means of attempting to control uncertainty. The chapter illustrates this technique of temporal-rhetorical framing using examples from the Hungarian and Chinese constitutions. Constitutions and the rhetoric which frames them may present the illusion of control, but the future holds its secrets.