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Legitimacy and Criminal JusticeAn International Exploration$
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Justice Tankebe and Alison Liebling

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198701996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198701996.001.0001

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‘A Voice Within’: Power-Holders’ Perspectives On Authority And Legitimacy

‘A Voice Within’: Power-Holders’ Perspectives On Authority And Legitimacy

(p.60) 4 ‘A Voice Within’: Power-Holders’ Perspectives On Authority And Legitimacy
Legitimacy and Criminal Justice

Anthony Bottoms

Justice Tankebe

Oxford University Press

Legitimacy is now a well-established concept in the literature on criminal justice. However, the research so far completed has focused almost exclusively on what might be called audience legitimacy, that is, the legitimacy of criminal justice services as viewed by those they serve (from the general public to convicted offenders). This research tradition has been very fruitful, but it is incomplete, because it fails to examine legitimacy from the perspective of the power-holder – an important omission given that, conceptually, legitimacy is best viewed as an ongoing dialogue, in which power-holders claim legitimate authority, that claim is responded to by audiences, power-holders might adjust their claims in the light of audience responses, and so on (Bottoms and Tankebe 2012). The aim of this chapter is to develop this dialogic framework further by focusing in more detail on the topic of power-holders' perspectives on issues relating to legitimacy.

Keywords:   legitimacy, dialogue, power-holders, self-confidence, audience

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