Constitutional ideal types in the global age: a sociological review

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This paper forms part of an edited volume on “The Many Constitutions of Europe” (Tuori and Sankari 2010), to which it contributes a distinctly sociological perspective. It notably reconceives the various constitutions discussed in the volume as ideal types in the sense of Max Weber. In doing so, it builds on an understanding of the sociology of law as a ‘science of culture’ which takes the value-relatedness of legal ideas seriously.
Following Tuori’s relational understanding of constitutions, the paper systematically explores the social references of the four ‘material’ constitutions (economic constitution, political constitution, social constitution, security constitution; thus omitting the self-referential juridical constitution) in terms of their main argument (evolution, enlightenment, embeddedness, enforcement), their related concepts of social order (oikos, polis, nomos, physis) and their respective models of man, society, and law. Accordingly, the economic constitution is characterized by an emphasis on homo oeconomicus, market society, the economic system, and individual will, whereas the political constitution emphasizes homo politicus, civil society, the political-cultural system, and individual reason. In turn, the social constitution focuses on homo sociologicus, legal community, the life world, and collective reason. Finally, the security constitution is oriented towards homo gubernabilis, control society, the government system, and collective will.
Furthermore, the constitutional ideal types are qualified with regard to their globalization potential. Whereas social constitution and security constitution presuppose a stronger notion of the collective, which has long been defined in national terms, the economic and political constitutions point beyond the nation state and to the idea, or reality, of global(ized) individuals. The paper concludes with a plea to always consider both the territorial and the functional dimension of societal differentiation, and thus suggests studying the many constitutions of Europe (and in the world) according to a two-dimensional ‘cobweb model’.
Titel på gästpublikationThe many constitutions of Europe
RedaktörerKaarlo Tuori, Suvi Sankari
Antal sidor20
ISBN (tryckt)978-1-4094-0468-2
StatusPublicerad - 2010
MoE-publikationstypA3 Del av bok eller annan forskningsbok


  • 513 Juridik
  • 5141 Sociologi

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Frerichs, S. (2010). Constitutional ideal types in the global age: a sociological review. I K. Tuori, & S. Sankari (Red.), The many constitutions of Europe (s. 69-88). Aldershot: Ashgate.