Sociology Index


Legitimation crisis occurs when a government, is unable to evoke sufficient commitment or authority to govern. Low levels of voter turnout in the United States may be seen as an indicator of a legitimation crisis. The term legitimation crisis has been generalized by scholars when referring to the political realm, and also to organizational and institutional structures. In a legitimation crisis, governing structures fail to demonstrate that their practical functions fulfill the role for which they were created. From a political economy perspective the major source of the legitimation crisis is the economic transformation of the world in conjunction with what is termed globalization. The term 'legitimation crisis' was first introduced in 1973 by Jurgen Habermas, a German sociologist and philosopher. Habermas expanded upon the concept, claiming that with a legitimation crisis, an institution or organization does not have the administrative capabilities to maintain or establish structures effective in achieving their end goals. When sociologists claim that a legitimation crisis exists, they insist we can measure a legitimation crisis taking into account public attitudes toward the organization in question.

legitimation crisis occurs when government and authority are no longer seen as legitimate. Legitimation crisis refers to a decline in the confidence of administrative functions, institutions, or leadership. While there is no unanimity among social scientists when claiming that a legitimation crisis exists, a predominant way of measuring a legitimation crisis is by considering public attitudes toward the organization in question. - Friedrichs, David (1980). "The Legitimacy Crisis in the United States: A Conceptual Analysis". Social Problems. 27 (5): 540–555. 

Legitimation Crisis Abstracts

Jurgen Habermas and the Idea of Legitimation Crisis, RAYMOND PLANT.
Abstract: Paper explores one aspect of the recent work of Jurgen Habermas on Legitimation Crisis. It focuses attention on Habermas's claim that the pre-capitalist moral values on which capitalism has hitherto relied have become progressively displaced by the growth of the capitalist economy. This has produced central problems for the state management of the economy, in the absence of an established internalized set of values which could act both as restraints upon economic demands and as reinforcement to an ethic of work.

A Cautionary Tale: Globalization and Legitimation Crisis in the Rule of Law in the United States, KENNETH M. CASEBEER, University of Miami.
Abstract: Globalization creates a legitimation crisis for the future of democracy in the United States. The judicial coup by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, therefore, requires both curricular reform and methodic institution of critical oppositional norms and methods to regain democratic legitimation of the rule of law.

Legitimation crisis in the later work of Jurgen Habermas
Joseph Heath, University de Montreal. Most political theorists became acquainted with the work of Jurgen Habermas through his 1973 publication of Legitimation Crisis. In this work, Habermas argued that the traditional Marxist analysis of crisis tendencies in the capitalist system was outdated, given the relative success of the welfare-state compromise. Habermas billed his discussion in Legitimation Crisis as only a set of “programmatic” suggestions. Habermas has gone on to a considerable refinement of his broadly sociotheoretic views, bug he has never returned to an explicit treatment of the principal issues raised in Legitimation Crisis. I trace the development of Habermas’s analysis of legitimation problems from the time of Legitimation Crisis, through The Theory of Communicative Action, to his recent Between Facts and Norms, and use this to reconstruct and evaluate an updated version of his Legitimation Crisis Thesis.

Public Broadcasting in Canada - Legitimation Crisis and the Loss of Audience - Paul Attallah.
Public broadcasting in Canada has met with separate fates depending on which language group constituted its main audience. While the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has suffered an erosion of audiences and credibility, leading to a legitimation crisis, Society Radio-Canada (SRC) has remained relatively strong and popular.

The PetroChina Syndrome: Regulating Capital Markets in the Anti-Globalization Era.
Abstract: This article argues that the process of globalization has generated a legitimation crisis that can be the source of wasteful, even destructive, social and political conflict. I stylize this outcome as "the PetroChina Syndrome," after a leading example of the kind of activity generated in response to globalization, the PetroChina Campaign, where a coalition of labor, human rights, environmental, anti-slavery and religious groups worked together to oppose the initial public offering of a major Chinese oil company led by Goldman Sachs. This intervention should be encouraged to develop new institutions to respond to the growing legitimation crisis of global capitalism.

Process Over Product: The Legitimation Crisis in Contemporary Popular Music. Charlie Bertsch, English Department, University of Arizona.