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Political Legitimacy and the State$
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Rodney Barker

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198274957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198274957.001.0001

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All Subjects Are Legitimately Governed, but Some are more Legitimately Governed than Others

All Subjects Are Legitimately Governed, but Some are more Legitimately Governed than Others

Chapter:
(p.107) 6 All Subjects Are Legitimately Governed, but Some are more Legitimately Governed than Others
Source:
Political Legitimacy and the State
Author(s):

Rodney Barker

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198274957.003.0006

This chapter argues that legitimacy is an aspect of the relationship between the government and the governed, whose character varies in location, content, and degree of articulacy within any governed society. It is often assumed that legitimacy is equally distributed and that its absence is both equally spread and equally problematic for governments. This assumption arises from a carry-over from the rationalism of liberal normative theories of legitimacy into ‘scientific’ studies of human conduct. A different approach to the matter from that of the quantitative democrat assumes that obedience and legitimacy are not equally distributed either in social space, or in time, any more than all people are equally subject to government.

Keywords:   legitimacy, government, governed society, liberal normative theories, obedience

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