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Quandaries of Legitimacy

Bernard Matolino

Kwame Gyekye seeks to address the complex question of political legitimacy particularly on the African continent. He argues that the justification for political legitimacy need not necessarily depend on the economic performance of any given regime. For him, justification for legitimacy merely lies in whether all correct processes and procedures were properly followed in the assumption of power. He is of the view that military coups should not be tolerated as they lack legitimacy although they might have justification usurping power. He also argues that popular uprisings may have the justification to assume power but should subject themselves to a plebiscite to have legitimacy. In this paper I seek to argue that Gyekye's distinction between legitimacy and justification of exercise of political power is unsustainable. In contrast to Gyekye I seek to argue for a more plausible account of legitimacy that takes the substantive requirement much more seriously. I do this by showing the importance of the function of institutional checks on power in traditional African societies and seek to argue for the urgent need of such institutionalised checks on power in post-colonial Africa.

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Anxious Vigilance and the Production of (Il)legitimacy in the UK Citizenship Regime

“It's How You Sift Them Out, Y'know?”

Rachel Lewis

called to evidence their legitimacy not only in legislative/bureaucratic terms but also in normative terms. “Citizenization,” as Anne- Marie Fortier (2017) terms it, requires the citizen-candidate to display and evidence characteristics of

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Evaluating the Quality and Legitimacy of Global Governance

A Theoretical and Analytical Approach

Tim Cadman

Global governance, central to international rule-making, is rapidly evolving; thus, there is a need for a way to evaluate whether institutions have the capacity to address the problems of the contemporary era. Current methods of evaluating the democratic quality of contemporary governance are closely linked to legitimacy, about which there are competing definitional theories. This article uses a theoretical approach based around “new“ governance and the environmental policy arena to argue that contemporary governance is best understood as social-political interaction built on “participation as structure“ and “deliberation as process“, with the level of interaction ultimately determining legitimacy. It presents a new arrangement of the accepted attributes of “good“ governance using a set of principles, criteria and indicators, and relates these to the structures and processes of governance. The implications and application of the analytical framework are also discussed.

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Adopting a Resistance Lens

An Exploration of Power and Legitimacy in Transitional Justice

Julie Bernath and Sandra Rubli

Within transitional justice scholarship of the past ten years, “power” and “legitimacy” have increasingly become objects of study, in particular for scholars taking a critical stance to a normative conceptualization and implementation of

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Opacity and Transparency

On the ‘Passive Legitimacy’ of Capitalist Democracy

Daniel Hausknost

Political theorists often present the question of legitimacy as a genuinely modern problem. It only emerges once ‘appreciation of the conventional character of social norms and institutions becomes widespread’, as William Connolly (1984: 2) points

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Pluralist Democracy and Non-Ideal Democratic Legitimacy

Against Functional and Global Solutions to the Boundary Problem in Democratic Theory

Tom Theuns

The boundary problem is a classic issue in democratic theory. It holds that, whatever the theory of legitimacy that we believe our preferred democratic decision procedure should meet, the initial act of constituting the demos can never be met by

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Flights of Fancy and the Dissolution of Shakespearean Space-Time in Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus

Kate Myers

, Wise Children . 3 Indeed, Wise Children self-consciously alludes to the Bard and announces its scrutiny and reversal of a father's claim on biological, and Shakespeare's relatively recent claim on cultural, legitimacy. It is easy to see why critics

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Delegitimization as a National Security Threat

Israel and BDS

Ronnie Olesker

-delegitimization response? Israelis view legitimacy as a national security asset, while conversely delegitimization poses a national security threat to ontological security and, as such, has been securitized by the state. Israel has adopted offensive measures to respond to

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Law Abiding Citizens

On Popular Support for the Illegal Killing of Wolves

Olve Krange, Erica von Essen, and Ketil Skogen

correlations exist. Our results suggest that, on the whole, the illegal killing of wolves has fairly low support and thereby low legitimacy as an extra-legal act. This correlates with previous research ( Gangås et al. 2013 ). Although only 49 percent of

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Fear at Work

Bureaucratic and Affective Encounters between Primary School Teachers and Their ‘Chiefs’ in Postcolonial Benin

Pauline Jarroux

illustrate transformations in the way authority is spoken and performed in postcolonial Benin. As I will show, fear in administrative relationships gives rise to discussions and negotiations about the legitimacy of state practices and the way its authority