15 March 2014
BOOK: O. Christin, Vox Populi. Une histoire du vote avant le suffrage universel (Paris: Seuil, 2014)
Nomôdos signals a work potentially of interest to historians of public law: Olivier Christin's Vox Populi. Une histoire du vote avant le suffrage universel. The author examines distinct procedures of designating public officials in towns and villages, religious orders and conclaves, universities and academies. A just distribution of posts, or the selection of the best and most able were far from the essential objective. Instead, elite reproduction and the defense of orthodoxy were central.
To trace "democracy" back to representative institutions from the Late Middle Ages to the end of the Ancien Régime, is a commonplace all too often asserted. Christin challenges this assumption and forces the reader to adopt a critical approach to contemporary institutions and the social objectives their selection mechanisms serve.