All governments and their supporters attempt to justify their power by the arguments and rituals of legitimacy. The claim to ultimate power authorized by principles of right, morality or destiny is what distinguishes the state from other organizations and institutions. The study of legitimate power thus lies at the heart of political science. Rodney Barker examines the accounts that have been given of legitimacy within the principal traditions of political analysis. Drawing on recent historical examples, he argues for a more diversified understanding of the function and the character of political legitimacy. Rules, he suggests, are often far more concerned about legitimizing their power than those whom they govern. Barker proposes the study of legitimacy as a form of political life not merely derived from other interests or purposes, but as a central characteristic of government. The author has also written "Studies in Opposition" and "Political Ideas in Modern Britain".
'a useful and thoughtful survey of recent discussions of an important and highly topical subject'
Anthony Arblaster, Tribune
`scholarly and elegant ... cool-headed discusssion ... He is particularly good on the way in which legitimacy can be distributed unevenly and why this matters ... and he has interesting things to say on how states can subvert their own legitimacy.' New Statesman and Society
`It is the strength of Rodney Barker's book that he does not avoid the difficult questions, and that he offers us some provisional answers to them.'
DAvid Beetham, Times Higher Education Supplement
`interesting and provocative book ... This book is an important contribution to a neglected area of state theory'
'provocative book ... Barker has done much to reinstate the concept of legitimacy at the heart of state theory'
Bob Jessop, Lancaster University, Sociology, February 1992
Political legitimacy; the legitimacy of the autonomous state; the legitimacy of the representative or neutral state; the legitimacy of the partisan state; all subjects are legitimately governed but some are more legitimately governed than others; legitimacy and coercion; states as cultivators of legitimacy; the state as subverter of legitimacy.
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 6th September 1990
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.9 x 14.5
Weight (kg): 0.43