A Sociology of Constitutions : Constitutions and State by Chris Thornhill

By Chris Thornhill

''Using a technique that either analyzes specific constitutional texts and theories and reconstructs their historic evolution, Chris Thornhill examines the social position and legitimating prestige of constitutions from the 1st quasi-constitutional records of medieval Europe, in the course of the classical interval of progressive constitutionalism, to contemporary methods of constitutional transition. A Sociology of

''During the emergence of sociology as a tutorial self-discipline the query concerning the origins, prestige and features of constitutions used to be greatly posed. certainly, for either thematic and methodological purposes, the research of constitutions was once a significant point of early sociology. Sociology built, notwithstanding ambiguously, as a severe highbrow reaction to the theories and achievements of the Enlightenment within the eighteenth century, the political measurement of which was once centrally concerned about the speculation and perform of constitutional rule. In its very origins, actually, sociology can be noticeable as a counter-movement to the political beliefs of the Enlightenment, which rejected the (alleged) normative deductivism of Enlightenment theorists. during this admire, specifically, early sociology used to be deeply taken with theories of political legitimacy within the Enlightenment, and it translated the progressive research of legitimacy within the Enlightenment, serious about the normative declare that singular rights and rationally generalized rules of criminal validity have been the constitutional foundation for valid statehood, into an account of legitimacy which saw political orders as acquiring legitimacy via internalistically complicated, traditionally contingent and multi-levelled strategies of criminal formation and societal motivation and solidarity. this isn't to signify that there existed a strict and unbridgeable dichotomy among the Enlightenment, construed as a physique of normative philosophy, and proto-sociological inquiry, outlined as a physique of descriptive interpretation''-- Read more...

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This captures the sense of the immunity as a legal principle that at once supported and gradually fragmented centrally applied power. For analytical examples, see Milsom (1976: 58). 22 medieval constitutions mentioned, feudal lords often purchased support for their power by allocating private rights or offering indemnities in respect of judicial force, taxation and service. For this reason, earlier feudal societies tended to be highly particularized and endemically violent, they embedded reserves of power in deeply privatized local and familial milieux, and they had limited recourse to a reliably centralized or regular legal apparatus.

Despite this, however, as early as the late eleventh century the church had clearly assumed a uniquely ordered and centralized internal legal structure, and, to a greater extent than societal actors using the civil law, it instituted a uniform model of legal order, which began pervasively to transform European societies in their entirety. In particular, the church began to respond both to the endemic privatism and disorder of early feudalism and to the gradual differentiation and expansion of European societies by constructing for itself a legal apparatus that enabled it to make decisions and enforce its authority at an increasingly high level of inner autonomy and outer uniformity – that is, to circulate its power in increasingly regular and inclusive procedures across the local and jurisdictional fissures that underlay European societies in the condition of early feudalism.

In the first instance, it reflected a wide process of societal expansion, and it distilled the power of the church into a generalizable form that could be equally and iterably applied to all members of the Christian community. Vital for this was the fact that the canon law began to project a construction of the church as an overarching organic personality – that is, as a personality that retained an inner consistency against the particular bearers of its power, and could autonomously authorize, devolve and reproduce power in varied settings by referring to highly generalized and inclusive legal concepts.

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