This introductory chapter focuses on the importance of studying political legitimacy. It also provides a brief overview of the concepts of legitimacy and legitimate authority and discusses three accounts of justifiable and justified obedience. Legitimacy, in so far as it sustains government, can involve both citizenship and subjection. A study of legitimacy provides an opportunity not only to distinguish between various relations of and within government. It can also be employed to examine the various conceptions of government and politics available within political science.
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