Sociology of the Rule of Law: Politics, Economics and Social Transitions

20 mar 2023 - 31 mar 2023

This module opens by distinguishing between the doctrinal and sociological concept of the rule of law and discussing the anthropological notion of the rule as one of human universals behind the constitution of a societal order. It subsequently discusses sociological theories of the rule of law and analyses the rule of law as a double coded genealogy of societal power. Following the legal coding of power, the module addresses the problem of legitimation by legality and its transformation to the problem of legitimation of legality itself. It contrasts the formal and substantive concepts of the rule of law and shows how the value-based legitimation of the rule of law paradoxically leads to the structural tensions, value conflicts and de-legitimation of the rule of law.

The second half of the module draws on historical, comparative, and structural analyses of various processes described as democratization or democratic transitions. It addresses the meaning and general theories of democratization and the emergence of democratic transition studies. Structural aspects, different actors, the process of negotiations and roundtable talks and their economic and social context and impact on the rule of law and on the constitutional aspect of democratic, social and economic transitions, are discussed, and close links between democratization, the rule of law, and constitutionalism are analyzed in individual seminars. Problems of transitional justice and dealing with the authoritarian past are considered as an intrinsic part of democratic transitions.

The concluding part of the module revisits the legitimation/de-legitimation loop between the formal and substantive rule of law and shows the general societal function of the rule of law transforming the systemic facts of power to the legitimizing values of the democractic political system.