Political Legitimacy

Andrew Klassen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


Political legitimacy is what grants those in power the general consent required to govern. It encompasses the belief among a governed population that governance is proper, correct, and right. Legitimate governing actors are treated by those they govern as justifiably holding authority and exercising political power. Political legitimacy thus often provides an obligation to comply with the commands of authority. Deficient political legitimacy conversely implies a reduced obligation to comply with the commands of authority. This entry will discuss empirical versus normative political legitimacy and transparency, accountability, representation, participation, lawfulness, fairness, effectiveness, and appropriateness in governance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Power
EditorsKeith Dowding
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781412994088
ISBN (Print) 9781412927482
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


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