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This article aims at offering an innovative interpretation of the potentialities of the “rule of law” for the twenty-first century. It goes beyond current uses and the dispute between formal and substantive conceptions by exploring the roots of the institutional ideal. Also through historical reconstruction and comparative analysis, the core of the rule of law appears to be a peculiar notion. It displays a special objective that the law is asked to achieve, on a legal plane, largely independently of political instrumentalism. The normative meaning is elaborated on and construed around notions of institutional equilibrium, non-domination and “duality” of law. The ideal of the rule of law can be considered as, first, consistent with its historical constants, instead of being forged on purely abstract basis; second, extendable to contemporary institutional transformations, beyond the State; and, third, conceptually sustainable on a legal theoretical plane, where it is located without falling prey to the debate about the morality of valid law.

In: Comparative Sociology
In: Rule of Law and Democracy
Leading scholars address the interplay between rule of law and democracy, the most relevant ideals for our present civilisation in the legal and political spheres, at the same time making sense of the different ways in which legal requirements, social commitments, and democratic standards are expected to interweave. Through a reappraisal of the theoretical import of the concepts the contributors provide for a fresh set of inquiries, internal and external, ranging from the State, consolidated and transitional democracies, to interstate, European and global scenarios. Re-orienting the diversity in disciplinary approaches, they converge in tackling disputed empirical and normative questions in-context, and suggest further connections between the rule of law’s potential and the transformations of political arenas.

Contributors are Monica Ciobanu, Christian Joerges, Poul Kjaer, Friedrich Kratochwil, Leonardo Morlino, Gianluigi Palombella, and Daniela Piana.
In: Comparative Sociology