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The Democratic LeaderHow Democracy Defines, Empowers and Limits its Leaders$
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John Kane and Haig Patapan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199650477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199650477.001.0001

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Democratic Leadership and the Problem of Legitimacy

Democratic Leadership and the Problem of Legitimacy

(p.30) 2 Democratic Leadership and the Problem of Legitimacy
The Democratic Leader

John Kane

Patapan Haig

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that popular sovereignty, though unrealizable as a practical principle, nevertheless operates continuously by challenging and constraining leaders who must defer to the popular will. The result is a twofold politics: politics-as-usual and the politics of legitimacy. The latter concerns the leader’s permanent need to show the democratic legitimacy of every act and decision in the face of often contradictory demands. The impossible democratic expectation that a leader should be, simultaneously, an agent, a ‘mirror’ representative, and a trustee is one of the major themes of the chapter.

Keywords:   legitimacy, sovereignty, agency, representation

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