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The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation$
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Wolfgang Merkel, Raj Kollmorgen, and Hans-Jürgen Wagener

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829911.001.0001

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(p.542) Chapter 57 Legitimacy
The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation

Daniel Lambach

Oxford University Press

Legitimacy is closely, if somewhat imperfectly tied to political stability which makes legitimization a persistent challenge for all political systems. However, it would be unwise to characterize autocratic regimes as illegitimate per se—these regimes use a variety of legitimation strategies which they adapt to changing circumstances. This chapter distinguishes between normative and empirical understandings of legitimacy. It discusses the role of empirical legitimacy in upholding political systems and contrasts different taxonomies of legitimation, highlighting the manifold ways through which regimes can generate public support. It shows how a legitimacy crisis can precipitate political transformation but also how new regimes are faced with the same challenge of legitimizing and consolidating their rule.

Keywords:   legitimacy, legitimation, delegitimization, institutions, authority, political system, support, legitimacy crisis, stability

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