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

Program Manager job vacancy - join us!

Friday 1st March 2019

DLP is looking for a Program Manager for a new three-year phase of research on how leadership can support development in Asia and the Pacific.

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Tackling violence in the DRC: new papers discuss ways forward

Tuesday 18th December 2018

As the Democratic Republic of the Congo prepares for tense presidential elections, two new papers unpack some of the drivers of the prolonged conflict and insecurity in the eastern provinces.

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