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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 old evolution, Chris Thornhill examines the social function and legitimating prestige of constitutions from the 1st quasi-constitutional records of medieval Europe, throughout the classical interval of innovative constitutionalism, to fresh tactics 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 used to be broadly posed. certainly, for either thematic and methodological purposes, the research of constitutions was once a valuable 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 size of which was once centrally fascinated with the idea and perform of constitutional rule. In its very origins, actually, sociology will 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 fascinated about theories of political legitimacy within the Enlightenment, and it translated the innovative research of legitimacy within the Enlightenment, curious 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 advanced, traditionally contingent and multi-levelled techniques of criminal formation and societal motivation and team spirit. 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 info for A Sociology of Constitutions : Constitutions and State Legitimacy in Historical-Sociological Perspective

Sample text

Even in earlier canonical discourses, however, the implication inevitably became clear that, as an agent using and founded in generalized legal principles, the church possessed a distinctly unified, positive legal personality, which it could invoke to support a substantial number of devolved and personally indifferent administrative or judicial acts and decisions. As a result, the church was able to claim singular authority for the multiple decisions of its representatives, and it could refer to a set of general internal norms that authorized its representatives to create, and explain the necessity of, new laws.

Throughout the reformist period, in fact, the entire operative structure of the church was placed on a firm legal basis. For instance, this period witnessed the formation of the monastic regime in the church, and it witnessed the institution of a formal concept of sacraments. It also witnessed the imposition of firm standards of behaviour and worship across churches in all countries under the papal see; and it witnessed the establishment of a stricter episcopal regime in which bishops were closely tied to Rome and were commissioned to impose the pope’s will throughout the church in its entirety.

This assumption of a stable legal apparatus in the church meant that the church was able to apply power as an increasingly abstracted and autonomous phenomenon, and that it could presuppose flexible principles to underwrite diverse applications of its power. Naturally, this is not to suggest that at such an early stage the Roman Catholic church had begun to assume a corporate-constitutional or genuinely conciliar character. This eventually became the case in the fourteenth century, when theorists of ecclesiastical law began to accept the principle that the church possessed a legal personality (a persona ficta) that was distilled solely from law and that was at once internally consistent and constitutionally distinct from its particular representatives or executors.

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