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By Chris Thornhill

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

''During the emergence of sociology as a tutorial self-discipline the query in regards to the origins, prestige and features of constitutions was once largely posed. certainly, for either thematic and methodological purposes, the research of constitutions was once a important element of early sociology. Sociology constructed, even if 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 thinking about the speculation and perform of constitutional rule. In its very origins, in truth, 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 appreciate, specifically, early sociology used to be deeply thinking about theories of political legitimacy within the Enlightenment, and it translated the innovative research of legitimacy within the Enlightenment, excited about the normative declare that singular rights and rationally generalized ideas of felony 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 techniques 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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Extra resources for A Sociology of Constitutions : Constitutions and State Legitimacy in Historical-Sociological Perspective

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36 medieval constitutions imputing to the prince an ultimate monopoly of worldly power. These ideas became progressively prevalent through Europe, and, spreading outwards from Bologna, Roman law was broadly employed throughout high medieval European society as a device for asserting the growing territorial supremacy of temporal rulers, and for constructing the state as a consistent and uniform legal personality, able, in some matters, to subordinate the church. 16 In the Holy Roman Empire, for example, where the conflict over the balance of authority between church and state was at its most intense, Roman law was the legal medium in which this conflict was distilled and conducted, and emperors widely employed aspects of Roman law to claim a fullness of secular/territorial power.

Both the diffuse holding of feudal rights, exemptions and unbridled (often violent) lordship were increasingly controlled by dominant figures in society, who were beginning (very tentatively) to acquire a monopoly of the instruments of political coercion. Through this process, albeit with substantial regional differences, the powers attached to lordship, to local privileges and to seigneurial rights were weakened. Indeed, throughout the entire transformation of feudalism, the feudal nobility, originally exercising power at a high degree of independence, experienced a slow change in the social origins of modern constitutions 23 political status: the private authority and independence of the nobility were slowly reduced, and in more advanced states the nobility was commonly brought into a more controlled and subordinate relation to central dynastic authority.

3 It is widely documented that earlier feudal societies contained a distinctive inner legal order, and, as an overarching societal system, feudalism stabilized judicial structures in otherwise highly disordered social settings: the exchange of feoffs meant that the use of power by those in superior positions in the feudal chain was countervailed by the rights attached to feoffdom, and violations of feudal rights could be pursued at different levels in private feudal courts. 4 However, feudal societies, or at least societies at a relatively early stage of feudalization, were pervasively shaped by very irregular and personalistic patterns of lordship and legal settlement, and, as 3 4 overarching social system, with uniform characteristics and a clear beginning and a clear end.

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