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Myth and Reality of the Legitimacy Crisis – Explaining Trends and Cross-National Differences in Established Democracies - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Myth and Reality of the Legitimacy Crisis: Explaining Trends and Cross-National Differences in Established Democracies

Carolien van Ham, Jacques Thomassen, Kees Aarts, and Rudy Andeweg


Theories about legitimacy decline and legitimacy crisis are as old as democracy itself. Yet, representative democracy still exists, and empirical evidence for a secular decline of political support in established democracies is limited, questionable, or absent. This calls into question existing explanatory theories of legitimacy decline. How valid are theories of modernization, globalization, media malaise, social capital, and party decline, if the predicted outcome, i.e. secular decline of political support, does not occur? And which (new) explanations can account for the empirical variation ... More

Keywords: legitimacy decline, political support, legitimacy, crisis, democracy, established democracies

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780198793717
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198793717.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Carolien van Ham, editor
Lecturer in Comparative Politics, University of New South Wales

Jacques Thomassen, editor
Professor Emeritus of political Science, University of Twente

Kees Aarts, editor
Professor of Political Science, University of Groningen

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Part I Legitimacy and Representative Democracy: State of the Art, Concepts, and Trends

1 A Legitimacy Crisis of Representative Democracy?

Jacques Thomassen and Carolien van Ham

2 The Myth of Legitimacy Decline

Carolien van Ham and Jacques Thomassen

Part II What is Wrong with Theories of Legitimacy Decline?: Reappraising Existing Theories

3 Modernization, Globalization, and Satisfaction with Democracy

Kees Aarts, Carolien van Ham, and Jacques Thomassen

5 Legitimacy Decline and Party Decline

Rudy B. Andeweg and David M. Farrell

Part III Diverging Trends?: Explaining Within and Between Country Differences in Political Support

10 Political Support in the Wake of Policy Controversies

Peter Esaiasson, Mikael Gilljam, and Mikael Persson

Part IV Reflections and Conclusions

11 Studying Political Legitimacy

Rudy B. Andeweg and Kees Aarts