The Sociology of Law and Global Sociology

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Abstract

This article uses a perspective based in the historical sociology of law to set out a new interpretation of the rise of the modern democratic political system and to examine processes of political institution building in contemporary global society. The article argues that the differentiation of the modern political system was originally triggered by legitimational pressures within the legal system, such that the national political system initially emerged as an internal component of the legal system. The political system took a decisively democratic shape as the legal system attached its legitimational functions to the military system in the revolutions of the eighteenth century. This meant that, in its national form, the democratic political system developed as a type of coupling between law and the military, which always relied on a highly militarized, deeply destabilizing techniques of legitimacy production and integration, and never became a completely stable form of national government. The antinomies of modern democracy were only overcome through the rise of global human rights law, which reintegrated the political system in the legal system, transferred responsibility for legitimacy production from the national citizen to a system of global legal norms, and created a series of functional equivalents for national processes of political mobilization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-401
JournalZeitschrift für Soziologie
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2019

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