Title: On Legitimacy
Author: KRATOCHWIL, Friedrich
Citation: International Relations, 2006, 20, 3, 302-308
This article provides a conceptual analysis of different uses of the term ‘legitimacy’. Rather than attempting to provide a simple ‘definition’ I argue that the meaning of the concept cannot be understood in terms of a clear reference, but has to be analysed through its links with other concepts within a semantic field. In this way we are also able to ‘explain’ why at first contradictory uses of the term (designating its ‘input’ or the ‘output’ side) are part of its ‘grammar’. To that extent attempts at stipulative definitions aiming at an unequivocal sense of the term fundamentally misunderstand the function of this concept within the political discourse.
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