By Chris Thornhill
Utilizing a strategy 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, in the course of the classical interval of progressive constitutionalism, to contemporary methods 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
To this end, the book seeks to outline a theory of norms to unsettle the conceptual dominance of analytical theory in normative inquiry: it attempts to apply a sociological method to show how modern societies tend, for functional motives, to promote the emergence of relatively generalized societal and legal-political norms, and how this can be identiﬁed (and even advocated) without reliance on hypostatically rationalist patterns of deduction and prescription. In 17 18 See as primary examples Tilly (1975); Tilly (1985).
18 The period of church reform, in short, was also a period of secular reform in which emergent states, however tentatively, began juridically to harden their legal form, and certain early states emulated the church by using the law – and speciﬁcally Roman law – to explain themselves as regularized bearers of socially abstracted administrative power. At the deepest societal level, however, the process of legal abstraction in the church and the transfer of legal concepts between church and state were reﬂections of a more fundamental and encompassing process of societal transformation.
Here I follow both Parsons and Luhmann in associating an increase in the differentiated reserves of power with a growth in options contained in society and a correlated diminution of physical violence (Parsons 1963: 243, 237; Luhmann 1988: 78–9). a note on method and central concepts 19 While pursuing a historical-sociological line of inquiry, further, it rejects the conﬂict-theoretical model that prevails in much sociological analysis, and it suggests that the construction of power is most deeply marked, not by irreducible political conﬂict, but by patterns of normatively inﬂected self-reproduction, multiplication and inclusion.
A Sociology of Constitutions: Constitutions and State Legitimacy in Historical-Sociological Perspective by Chris Thornhill