The Dichotomy of the Concepts “Norm” and “Practice” in Medieval Law
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The Dichotomy of the Concepts “Norm” and “Practice” in Medieval Law
Annotation
PII
S207987840001918-8-1
DOI
10.18254/S0001918-8-1
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Olga Togoeva 
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Galina Popova
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Abstract
The article analyzes the current state of research on the history of law in the Middle Ages and in the Early Modern period and, in particular, the question of irreducibility of the concepts of “norm” and “practice” in such works. The authors emphasize the diversity of legal norms that existed in this period, their divergence not only to each other, but sometimes with more general value orientations of that era, primarily Christian. The article presents a brief analysis of the main stages of the development of medieval law, which influenced most directly on the development of the concepts of “norm” and “practice”: the period of the reception of Roman law in Western Europe in the early Middle Ages; the period of the emergence and codification of Canon law in the 12th century; the period of formation of the first centralized monarchies in Western Europe in 11th – 12th centuries. The authors note that the legal norms did exist in the Middle Ages and early Modern not only in the form of the establishments of a “state” (or its ruler), but in the form of decisions taken by local lords or by cities. They state the absence of the idea of codified law in this period, the absence of the government commitment to the uniformity of the legal framework and its harmonization. The authors consider the concept of “practice” as equally challenging, as the medieval court law was essentially a case law and the records of the precedents (judicial, notarial and other registers) were also a source of the written law and partly were seen as the norm. Thus, the authors come to the conclusion that the modern historians need to be extremely careful in their research, to consider the extremely heterogeneous and multi-source database and every time anew the question of what in this case should be called “normal” and what is the “practice”
Keywords
Western Europe, Middle Ages, early Modern Times, history of law, “norm”, “practice”, codification of the law, case law, historical research
Received
22.05.2017
Publication date
16.07.2017
Number of characters
35141
Number of purchasers
25
Views
3850
Readers community rating
5.0 (1 votes)
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