Books above the Throne: The Ascension of the Book and the Actualization of Rule of Law in 17th -Century England

Prof. Paul Callister
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The paper is a journey exploring the historical relationship of printed books to authority. It employs a methodological rubric, known as “Media Theory and Ecological Holism” (traced to the information sciences and borrowed from the historian, Ronald Deibert) for analysis and support of the proposition that legal institutions, jurisprudence, and rule of law flourish or fail depending upon their compatibility with the information environment. The model is presented, not simply as a rubric for organizing the paper, but as a natural extension of Saul Wurman’s model, which lies near the heart of the library information sciences, and which is an appropriate construct for both bibliographic and historical analysis. Moreover, the paper suggests that actualization of the rule of law necessitates more than the enumeration of individual rights and the careful articulation of divided powers, but the presence of an information or media environment conducive to such rule. In illustrating this point, the paper illustrates the relationships of books to authority in early seventeenth-Century England, where ascendancy of the printed book as the ultimate repository of authority effectively establishes a limitation on royal prerogative and power. In particular, the paper explores the controversy surrounding Sir Edward Coke's legal publications and royal prerogative as claimed by kings James I and Charles I. Having established the role the printed book plays as source of authority and check on power, it returns to important questions about the nature of authority and compatibility of the rule of law in the emergent information age.

Keywords: Rule of Law, Information Environment, Book, Print, Authority, 17th century, England, King James I, Edward Coke, Media theory
Stream: Books, Writing and Reading
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Paul Callister

Library Director & Assoc. Prof. of Law, Leon E. Bloch Law Library
UMKC School of Law, University of Missouri - Kansas City

Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Professor Callister's research interests include the relationship of information environments to legal institutions, jurisprudence, stability and the rule of law. In October 2006, Callister was an invited presenter at Boalt Hall Law School for a symposium, "Legal Information and the Development of American Law." The resulting article, Law and Heideigger’s Question Concerning Technology: A Prolegomenon to Future Law Librarianship. In September of 2006, Callister received the Brenner Faculty Publishing Award for ‘Law's Box: Law, Jurisprudence and the Information Ecosphere.” In another publication, “Identity and Market for Loyalties Theories: The Case for Free Information Flow in Insurgent Iraq,” Callister applied "Market for Loyalties Theory" to understand how the information environment affects the establishment of a stable society. In 2007, Professor Callister briefed military officers at a conference of U.S. Special Operations Pacific Area Command on the article’s implications to military and government stabilization and reconstruction operations. Callister is a Salzburg Fellow, having attended session on 21st-century librarianship and the reconciliation of the rule of law with culture and religion. Callister also teaches Cyberlaw. Callister is active in the American Association of Law Libraries (chairing the Copyright Committee for 2005-2006 and currently serving on the Government Relations Committee).

Ref: B07P0129