This chapter opens by distinguish between the doctrinal and sociological concept of the rule of law and briefly comments on 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 chapter 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. It concludes by arguing that this legitimation/de-legitimation loop between the formal and substantive rule of law shows the general societal function of the rule of law transforming the systemic facts of power to the legitimizing values of the political system.
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