A Sociology of Constitutions: Constitutions and State by Chris Thornhill

By Chris Thornhill

Utilizing a technique that either analyzes specific constitutional texts and theories and reconstructs their old evolution, Chris Thornhill examines the social function and legitimating prestige of constitutions from the 1st quasi-constitutional files of medieval Europe, during the classical interval of innovative constitutionalism, to fresh procedures of constitutional transition. A Sociology of Constitutions explores the explanations why sleek societies require constitutions and constitutional norms and provides a particular socio-normative research of the constitutional preconditions of political legitimacy.Review"This publication discusses in a hugely unique and complex demeanour features of the makings and workings of constitutions, whose value (both highbrow and useful) has now not been formerly well-known. it is going to determine itself because the cornerstone of a brand new line of scholarship, complementary to extra traditional old and juridical methods to constitutional analysis."- Gianfranco Poggi, collage of Trento"This is a vital ebook in case you search to appreciate the sociological methods interested by the improvement of states and their constitutions. It has the good benefit of delivering enormous aspect in help of its thesis and therefore abundant ammunition to problem the numerous replacement theories of the advance of the fashionable state."- Richard Nobles, the fashionable legislation ReviewBook DescriptionCombining textual research of constitutions and old reconstruction of formative social strategies, Chris Thornhill examines the legitimating function of constitutions from the 1st quasi-constitutional files in medieval Europe to contemporary constitutional transitions. [C:\Users\Microsoft\Documents\Calibre Library]

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Additional resources for A Sociology of Constitutions: Constitutions and State Legitimacy in Historical- Sociological Perspective

Sample text

However, the emphasis of the argument proposed here is rather distinct from that evident in other examples of historical sociology. Central to this book, first, is the claim that modern societies are defined – in the first instance – by the fact that they require and produce, not autonomous political institutions, but rather autonomous reserves of political power: that is, the evolution of modern societies has depended on the capacities of these societies for generating quantities of political power that could be applied across complexly differentiated social terrains in reasonably positive, independent and easily inclusive and reproducible fashion, and whose utilization was not subject to endless local coercion or personalized controversy.

See also Bloch (1949: 135). For this reason, feudalism is construed here as a societal regime in which power was applied, often by violent means, through lateral private bonds, and thus did not clearly exist as political power. There is a substantial body of literature on immunities. Immunity is defined here as an institution that at once placed royal power as a private good in the hands of bearers of an immunity, and allowed them to ‘isolate themselves from the state’ (Boutruche 1968: 132–3). It involved ‘exemption from certain fiscal burdens’ and delegation to the lord of ‘certain judicial powers’ (Bloch 1949: 122).

Distinctive for this period was also the fact that the legal bureaucracy of the church increased markedly, and a specially qualified class of canon lawyers was required to preside over cases for legal adjudication. The legal order imposed by the reformist papacy, thus, led to a legal unification of the church as a whole, and throughout the church written law was used to transmit ecclesiastical power in a specifically consistent and general fashion. Fundamental to this legal revolution in the church was a far-reaching revival and refinement of the canon law, through which distinct branches and procedures of ecclesiastical order were gradually underpinned by uniformly ordered legal principles, and both the church and the papal monarchy assumed independent and positive legal foundations.

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