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The Legitimation of Power David Beetham

The Legitimation of Power - David Beetham

London & Basingstoke: Macmillan Education, 1991, Paperback.
Condition: Very Good. Heavily faded at the spine, a decent copy otherwise.

From the cover: “Why does power need legitimation? How do we know whether power is legitimate or not? By what criteria should we judge the legitimacy of power-holders in societies and political systems different from our own? What happens when legitimation fails? These difficult and contentious questions have been brought sharply into focus by the European revolutions of 1989 and recent political upheavals in other continents.

In this important and original book David Beetham offers an analysis of legitimacy that departs radically from the accounts given by most social scientists since Max Weber. The first part examines the nature of power relations, including class and gender relations, and argues that legitimacy is not just a matter of subjective acquiescence or belief, but has a normative structure which must be investigated by any theory which aims to explain and predict. The second part uses the analysis of legitimacy thus developed to throw new light on the dilemmas of the contemporary state and of different political systems. It examines the failure of the communist model and of liberal democracy outside its capitalist heartlands, and assesses the attempts of regimes in the Middle East to derive a religious legitimation from Islam. The breakdown of legitimacy in revolution and coup d’etat, the author argues, not only underlines the significance of legitimacy for the contemporary state; it also raises the question of whether the different legitimating principles examined can be treated as qualitatively equivalent. A concluding chapter explains why the conventional separation between normative philosophy and empirical social science in the study of legitimacy is untenable.

This systematic and comprehensive work convincingly demonstrates the importance of theoretical analysis to an understanding of key contemporary issues. It will be of interest to students of sociology, political science and philosophy alike.”


Size: C Format (8½" x 5¼"). In the Issues in Political Theory series. [VIII] 267 pages.
£29.00
The Legitimation of Power David Beetham