Chapter 9 Sociology of the rule of law: power, legality and legitimacy
Restricted access

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.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Other access options

Redeem Token

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institutional Access

Personal login

Log in with your Elgar Online account

Login with you Elgar account
Handbook