By Chris Thornhill
Utilizing a strategy that either analyzes specific constitutional texts and theories and reconstructs their ancient 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 tactics of constitutional transition. A Sociology of Constitutions explores the explanations why smooth societies require constitutions and constitutional norms and provides 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
These legal controversies over investiture had the most far-reaching consequences for the secular-political structure of European societies. Indeed, one main result of these controversies was that political institutions began to design themselves around the same principles of positive legal order that had been consolidated in the church, and, in different 13 For this interpretation see Classen (1973); Minninger (1978: 208); and Paradisi (1987: 387). church law, the state and f eudal transformation 35 ways, conﬂicts over investiture stimulated a concerted migration of legal concepts from the church to the institutions of worldly power.
Both 9 Decretum Gratiani (1676 [c. 1140]: 22). 30 medieval constitutions canonists and political theorists of the later Middle Ages in fact ultimately claimed that the representative and doctrinal powers of the church reposed, not in the person of the pope alone, but in the church as a community of the faithful (congregatio ﬁdelium), which had its supreme constitutional organ in the church council (Tierney 1955: 4, 13). John of Paris, for example, concluded that the power of the church had a constitutional source that was not to be conﬂated with the pope and the inner administrative hierarchy around the pope (1614 [c.
For a more cultural perspective, see Corrigan and Sayer (1985). Yet, across methodological divides, the state-building process is still viewed as essentially one bringing about a conﬂictual convergence of society around a dominant bloc. I have assessed the literature in the classical canon of the historical sociology of states elsewhere (Thornhill: 2008), and I do not wish to repeat these points. Sufﬁce it to say, though, that, in general, the historical-sociological account of the state revolves around the assumption, ﬁrst promoted by Weber, Hintze and Schumpeter, that European states were formed as groups of actors who arrogated to themselves a monopoly of violence in society, and that the assumption of this monopoly is ﬁrmly tied to the need of states to gain ﬁscal supremacy in order to fund wars.
A Sociology of Constitutions: Constitutions and State Legitimacy in Historical-Sociological Perspective by Chris Thornhill