By Chris Thornhill
Utilizing a strategy that either analyzes specific constitutional texts and theories and reconstructs their ancient evolution, Chris Thornhill examines the social function 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 fresh strategies of constitutional transition. A Sociology of Constitutions explores the explanations why smooth societies require constitutions and constitutional norms and offers a particular socio-normative research of the constitutional preconditions of political legitimacy.
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Extra resources for A Sociology of Constitutions: Constitutions and State Legitimacy in Historical-Sociological Perspective
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. I simply use it to describe a particular mode of socio-political organization, accepted as a reality (albeit not in England) even by Richardson and Sayles (1963: 118), in which ‘sovereignty was divided between the king and his feudatories’.
In addition, however, this idea of higher law also allowed the church, internally, to deﬁne itself as a relatively unitary personality, and it created a legal structure in which ecclesiastical delegates could borrow (and thus, also, represent) the pope’s power and appeal to a corporate personality in the church in order to make decisions or settle disputes across substantial regional and temporal divides. Through the ascription of supreme legislative authority to the pope, thus, the church obtained the ability to use its power at a dramatically heightened level of administrative generality, and this allowed the power of the church to overarch different regions and in principle to include all members of European society in a consolidated ecumene.
In suggesting that power is required and produced in modern societies as an autonomous and positive facility, it also suggests that political power has an intrinsic relation to law. Indeed, it argues that in the course of power’s construction as a differentiated and positive medium of societal exchange, the intersection between law and power has necessarily increased: the intersection of power and law in fact serves the increasing need for autonomous reserves of positive power which characterizes modern societies.
A Sociology of Constitutions: Constitutions and State Legitimacy in Historical-Sociological Perspective by Chris Thornhill