• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The SAGE Handbook of Political Science presents a major retrospective and prospective overview of the discipline. Comprising three volumes of contributions from expert authors from around the world, the handbook aims to frame, assess and synthesize research in the field, helping to define and identify its current and future developments. It does so from a truly global and cross-area perspective. Chapters cover a broad range of aspects, from providing a general introduction to exploring important subfields within the discipline. Each chapter is designed to provide a state-of-the-art and comprehensive overview of the topic by incorporating cross-cutting global, interdisciplinary, and, where this applies, gender perspectives. The Handbook is arranged over seven core thematic sections: Part 1: Political Theory; Part 2: Methods; Part 3: Political Sociology; Part ...

Legitimacy and Legitimation
Legitimacy and legitimation
Hans-Joachim Lauth
Introduction and Key Concepts

The concept of political legitimacy is of key importance to political science. Beetham (1991: 41) called it ‘the central issue in social and political theory'. There are two basic questions associated with it: why should people obey their rulers, and why do people obey a particular political system? These two questions need two different types of answer, which has given rise to two distinct strands of research. A first step in explaining these two variant approaches is to distinguish between the concepts of legitimacy and legitimation. While legitimacy is a normative concept that evaluates grounds for acknowledging the authority of political systems or regimes, rules of power and the actions ...

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