Research Projects

Democratic Constitutional Design

The DCD (Democratic Constitutional Design) research project examines what lessons can be drawn from the Icelandic constitutional process 2009-2013 and seeks to apply these lessons in a theoretical framework studying democratic participation and civic engagement and democratic constitutional design in general. Special attention will also be paid to ongoing constitutional revision efforts. The projects works closely with the Prime Minister’s Office in monitoring the implementation of the current program to complete a revision of the constitution over two parliamentary terms, 2018-2025.

The Icelandic Constitutional Council attracted international attention for its public engagement efforts during its work to write a new Icelandic constitution. It won wide-spread public support in Iceland and inspired other countries to seek public engagement in constitutional revision. The Council’s proposal for a new constitution was submitted to Parliament in 2011.

The project combines a thorough study of the Constitutional Council’s work with a discussion of deliberative and epistemic democratic theory that both inspired its work and was affected by its results, in an effort to monitor and explore ongoing attempts by the Icelandic government to engage the public in constitutional revision. The main achievement of the Constitutional Council may be the fact that it created a draft constitution in an open, inclusive and transparent process, thereby permanently affecting dominant ideas about constitutional design.

The DCD project leaders are Jón Ólafsson, Professor of Comparative Cultural Studies, Valur Ingimundarson, Professor of History, Stefanía Óskarsdóttir, Professor of Political Science and Björg Thorarensen, Professor of Law at the University of Iceland.

Democratic Constitutional Design website