Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952613 | Print ISBN: 9781412905794 | Online ISBN: 9781412952613 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Joachim K. Blatter
Legitimacy is the popular acceptance of a governing regime or system of governance. The word legitimacy can be interpreted in either a normative or a positive way. The first meaning refers to political philosophy and deals with questions such as, What are the right sources of legitimacy? Is a specific political order or regime worthy of recognition? Empirical approaches try to measure the degree of popular acceptance of existing regimes or try to test causal explanations for low or high degrees of legitimacy. Legitimacy is a classic topic of political philosophy. In the current context of transformations from government to governance, the issue of democratic legitimacy has once again come to the forefront of political discussions because classic modes of gaining legitimacy that have been established during the last few hundred years are eroding. Vigorous debate is taking place about how to restore democratic legitimacy for sociopolitical systems that are ...