Political Legitimacy

Term: Spring 2009

Subject Code: GPOL

Course Number: 5052

In democracy, the legitimacy of government officials is founded on election. The nature of democratic power is therefore naturally grounded in its origin, or its conditions of establishment. In spite of this general rule, politicians and elected officials are consistently accused of partisan politicking and compromising the general interest. Out of this tension has emerged a new interest in other non-electoral democratic institutions and procedures for establishing legitimacy. The course will be dedicated to tracing the history of these non-electoral foundations of the general will from the nineteenth century to its contemporary developments. Two areas will be treated primarily. First, we will explore the establishment of �Institutions of Generality� in democratic regimes (Independent authorities and Constitutional Court, as elements of an �indirect democracy�). We will then discuss the political qualities of government officials which produce legitimacy in the eyes of citizens.

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