State Legitimacy

This brief offers a concise introduction to the core elements of the concept of state legitimacy. It addresses four questions: How is the concept of legitimacy best understood? Why is it important? How do states accrue legitimacy? And what policy implications follow from this?
 
States are legitimate when citizens accept their right to rule over them. But legitimacy is also a political process of bringing order to social relations, and political actors are often central to it.
 
Legitimacy matters because without it there is likely to be conflict and disorder. All states need a degree of legitimacy to govern effectively.
 
Understanding when citizens are likely to confer or withdraw legitimacy requires investigating social norms. The depth and durability of a state’s legitimacy has direct effects on the feasibility of development processes, and on the effectiveness of external efforts to support them.

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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News

'How Change Happens': Birmingham seminar with Duncan Green

Monday 9th January 2017

What works in achieving progressive change? How do power and systems shape change, and how can you influence them? Join Oxfam's Duncan Green on Thursday 19 January to discuss the themes of his new book 'How Change Happens'. The presentation will be followed by a drinks reception and book signing.

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Islands of integrity: funding award for DLP corruption research

Friday 2nd December 2016

DLP research on how to effectively fight corruption has won funding from the British Academy's Sustainable Development Programme, part of the UK government's Global Challenges Research Fund.

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