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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Legal codes have served multiple purposes. From early on, they have served as symbols of power, drawing their legitimacy from ancient roots. When observed historically, the practical importance of the codes has often been meager. Although the symbolic significance of the codes has never disappeared, from the nineteenth century onward their importance for practical legal life has been undisputable. The traditional view of looking at the codification history through the lens of nineteenth-century history of continental law is, however, in many ways misleading and in need of revision. Codes need to be considered in the context of other forms of normativity, such as normative ethics, as cultural products, and as export products.

Keywords: codification, legal history, nationalism, France, Sweden, legal modernization, Middle Ages, nineteenth century, Code Civil, Germanic codes

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