RECON Online Working Paper 2011/15

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The Dynamics of Legitimation

Why the Study of Political Legitimacy Needs More Realism 


Daniel Gaus†(ARENA, University of Oslo)



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 citizensí 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.





Democracy ― Democratic Theory ― Legitimacy ― Methodological Issues ― Political Science ―†Political Theory†



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