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A Sociology of Constitutions
Constitutions and State Legitimacy in Historical-Sociological Perspective

$134.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Law and Society

  • Date Published: August 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521116213

$ 134.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Using a methodology that both analyzes particular constitutional texts and theories and reconstructs their historical evolution, Chris Thornhill examines the social role and legitimating status of constitutions from the first quasi-constitutional documents of medieval Europe, through the classical period of revolutionary constitutionalism, to recent processes of constitutional transition. A Sociology of Constitutions explores the reasons why modern societies require constitutions and constitutional norms and presents a distinctive socio-normative analysis of the constitutional preconditions of political legitimacy.

    • Proposes an historical-sociological analysis of the role of constitutions which will appeal to all those working on legitimating functions of constitutions
    • Lays foundations for sociology of constitutions as a distinct sub-discipline of legal and political sociology, thus establishing a distinct lineage in legal and political analysis
    • Broad historical focus covers constitutions from medieval Europe to current society
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "This book discusses in a highly original and sophisticated manner aspects of the makings and workings of constitutions, whose significance (both intellectual and practical) has not been previously recognized. It will establish itself as the cornerstone of a new line of scholarship, complementary to more conventional historical and juridical approaches to constitutional analysis."
    Gianfranco Poggi, University of Trento

    "This is an important book for those who seek to understand the sociological processes involved in the development of states and their constitutions. It has the great merit of offering considerable detail in support of its thesis and thus ample ammunition to challenge the many alternative theories of the development of the modern state."
    Richard Nobles, The Modern Law Review

    "This is an outstanding book that suggests a completely new approach in constitutional theory and research … [T]he book introduces a new era of progressive research on constitutional evolution and the sociological history of constitutional law. [It] is a paradigm case for further studies."
    Hauke Brunkhorst, Public Law

    "Chris Thornhill's A Sociology of Constitutions … provides an uncompromisingly detailed and telling analysis of the structural and conjunctural forces that have shaped constitutional developments in a mainly European context since the Middle Ages. For anyone seriously interested in constitutional history, this book provides an excellent and erudite analysis."
    Grahame Thompson, Economy and Society

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2011
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521116213
    • length: 466 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.79kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Medieval constitutions
    2. Constitutions and early modernity
    3. States, rights and the revolutionary form of power
    4. Constitutions from Empire to Fascism
    5. Constitutions and democratic transitions.

  • Author

    Chris Thornhill, University of Manchester
    Chris Thornhill is Professor of European Political Thought and Head of Politics at the University of Glasgow, where his research focuses both on the relations between legal and political theory and legal and political sociology and on processes of state formation and constitution writing in different European societies.

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