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, during the classical interval of progressive constitutionalism, to fresh techniques of constitutional transition. A Sociology of Constitutions explores the explanations why sleek societies require constitutions and constitutional norms and offers a particular socio-normative research of the constitutional preconditions of political legitimacy''--
''During the emergence of sociology as an instructional self-discipline the query concerning the origins, prestige and services of constitutions used to be commonly posed. certainly, for either thematic and methodological purposes, the research of constitutions was once a critical 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 used to be centrally desirous about the speculation and perform of constitutional rule. In its very origins, actually, sociology will be visible 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 focused on theories of political legitimacy within the Enlightenment, and it translated the progressive research of legitimacy within the Enlightenment, concerned with the normative declare that singular rights and rationally generalized ideas 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 approaches of felony 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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Additional resources for A Sociology of Constitutions : Constitutions and State Legitimacy in Historical-Sociological Perspective
5 If the transition from early to high feudalism was marked by an incipient centralization of the political system in European societies, it was also coloured by a further, more encompassing, transformation of society as a whole. In particular, this progressive change from political order based on lordship and private land tenure to political order based in administrative institutions can be seen as a broad reaction to the very early emergence of a differentiated and independent economic system in many European societies.
Naturally, the works of both Durkheim and Parsons contain an implicitly normative theory of social construction. But the latest position in this lineage, that of Luhmann, is resolutely anti-normative. Simply, Luhmann stated that political power has no necessary precondition ab extra (1981: 69). He added later that the legitimation of power is always a communicative act of ‘self-legitimation’ that occurs within the political system, and it ‘excludes legitimation through an external system’ (2000: 358–9).
To be sure, this process did not take place in a political vacuum, and the distinction between processes of formalization in ecclesiastical law and similar processes in civil law cannot always be clearly drawn. For example, the tendency towards legal uniformity in the church was driven in part by the growing construction of the Holy Roman Empire as a concerted and increasingly autonomous body of political institutions: the increasing legal consistency of the church evolved almost in parallel to similar changes in the Empire, whose rulers progressively asserted their right to act in independence of the church, to assume independent territorial power and even to form a universal Empire.