Washington International Law Journal


Bui Ngoc Son


This Article extends Gary J. Jacobsohn’s theory of constitutional identity to better understand the dynamics of constitutional identity in the era of globalization. The extended theoretical framework features the relation of constitutional globalization to the change of national constitutional identity. Within that framework, this Article offers an original, empirical examination of the case of Vietnam and compares it with other socialist regimes (China, Laos, North Korea, and Cuba). It argues that globalization induces adaption to the socialist constitutional identity. The socialist constitutional identity is adapted by the pragmatic incorporation of fundamental ideas and principles of global constitutionalism. Consequently, the essence of the socialist constitutional identity remains but is modified and extended in the globalizing context. Although there is convergence in the adaption to socialist constitutional identity among the five socialist countries due to the impact of constitutional globalization, there are four divergent models which these countries adopt to react to the global impact on their constitutional identity, namely constitutional globalism (Vietnam and Laos); constitutional exceptionalism (China); constitutional isolationism (North Korea); and constitutional reservationism (Cuba). This Article contributes to the scholarship on constitutional globalization, comparative theory on constitutional identity, and empirical knowledge on constitutional dynamics in the contemporary socialist world.

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