The Dynamics of Legitimation: Why the study of political legitimacy needs more realism

The paper suggests a practice turn in the analysis of political legitimacy. Current social science research on political legitimacy suffers twofold.

ARENA Working Paper 8/2011 (pdf)

Daniel Gaus

The paper suggests a practice turn in the analysis of political legitimacy. Current social science research on political legitimacy suffers twofold.

First, it shows an undue (silent) impact of an ethics-first perspective. Second, empirical approaches to political legitimacy mostly focus on societal constellations of citizens’ beliefs. The dynamic character of political legitimacy as a concept referring to an ongoing societal practice of legitimation is missed.

Understanding legitimacy in terms of legitimation practice suggests a broadened research agenda that a) reserves a greater role to hermeneutical approaches and that b) acknowledges the systematic relation of political theory, the sociology of knowledge and the history of ideas in that matter.

This paper was first published as RECON Online Working Paper 2011/15

Tags: Political theory, Political science, Legitimacy
Published Oct. 27, 2011 10:43 AM - Last modified Apr. 25, 2016 10:50 AM