Political Legitimacy [C,E]

Term: Spring 2009

Subject Code: GSOC

Course Number: 5052

In a democracy, the legitimacy of government officials derives from elections. Democratic power is regarded as arising naturally from the conditions of its establishment. Still, politicians and elected officials are frequently accused of partisan politicking and compromising the public interest. Out of this tension have emerged nonelectoral democratic institutions and procedures as alternative means for establishing political legitimacy. This course traces the history of these nonelectoral manifestations of the popular will from the nineteenth century to the present. Two main topics are discussed. First we explore the establishment of �institutions of generality� in democratic regimes (independent authorities and constitutional courts as elements of indirect democracy). We then discuss the qualities of government officials that give them legitimacy in the eyes of citizens.


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