The Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is often dismissed as a valid legal instrument within the larger framework of the North Korean legal system. This is an unsurprising outcome given the portrayal of North Korea as a totalitarian dictatorship, documented human rights abuses, and the lack of access to the country's lawmaking processes. It is also a foreseeable result if comparisons are made to liberal democratic constitutions where rights guarantees and judicial review are defining elements. However, the North Korean Constitution deserves more nuanced scrutiny in light of evolving research on socialist and authoritarian constitutionalism in Asia. This article argues that the DPRK Constitution should be included more substantively within the analytical frameworks of Asian, socialist, and authoritarian constitutionalism by virtue of how it functions to nation-build, legitimate institutional leadership, signal ideological shifts, regulate society on collectivist, duty-based principles, and guide economic reforms for development and modernization.


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pp. 1-29
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