L’État en quête de légitimité

Title in English : The State in search of legitimacy

By Séverine Bellina, Dominique Darbon, Eriksen Stein Sundstol, Jacob Sending Ole

Ed. : Éditions Charles Léopold Mayer

Release Date: March 2010 ; Number of pages : 111

Material Type : Books

KeyWords : Legitimacy of power ; State ; Development

Language: French

Download the book on the publisher’s site :

Where does a State draw its legitimacy from and how can it be strengthen? Western countries would gladly respond by referring to their model. But this question is more complex then it appears because legitimacy, far form decreeing itself, is an empirical phenomenon. A public institution that does not meet certain externally prescribed criteria can still be considered legitimate, by the local stakeholders, if they consider it as such. The actual legitimacy of the state rests, in fact, in a mixture of specific and changing sources. It depends on the beliefs, perceptions, and expectations (both material and symbolic) of the concerned people. Furthermore, legitimacy is the product, the end game of the constructive relationship between state and society- relationship whose weakness and inefficiency are the characteristics of states in fragile situations.