Sociology Index


Legitimation crisis is a condition during which a political order, or government, is unable to evoke sufficient commitment or sense of authority to properly govern. Government and authority are no longer seen as legitimate. Low levels of voter turnout in the United States may be seen as an indicator of a legitimation crisis.

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’. This transformation raises the possibility that citizens will see the economic system with its growing class polarization and impoverishment as illegitimate as well as the governments that attempt to regulate this new world economic order.

J�rgen Habermas and the Idea of Legitimation Crisis, RAYMOND PLANT
Abstract: Paper explores one aspect of the recent work of J�rgen 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 reinforcements 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 J�rgen Habermas
Joseph Heath, Universit� de Montr�al
Most political theorists became acquainted with the work of J�rgen Habermas through his 1973 publication of Legitimationsprobleme im Sp�tkapitalismus (which became available in English two years later as 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 In this work, Habermas argued that the traditional Marxist analysis of crisis tendencies in the capitalist system was outdated, given the relative success of the welfare-state compromise.
Even though this thesis was not especially new, Habermas’s analysis offered the promise of a more rigorous formulation of the mechanism through which these undesirable cultural side-effects would be generated. However, Habermas billed his discussion in Legitimation Crisis as only a set of “programmatic” suggestions. Despite being provocative, they were in no sense articulated at a satisfactory level of detail. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Habermas has gone on to a considerable refinement of his broadly sociotheoretic views, he has never returned to an explicit treatment of the principal issues raised in Legitimation Crisis.
In this paper, 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. Habermas’s position in Legitimation Crisis, I argue, is characterized by two central commitments that are dropped in his later work: a version of late-Parsonian systems theory, and a broadly Luk�csian view of cultural modernity.

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, Soci�t� 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. The displacement of the trade union and collective bargaining by globalization has pushed organized labor and other groups to look to political intervention in the capital markets as an alternative means to establish legitimacy. 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.