Democratic Legitimacy

Democratic Legitimacy: Plural Values and Political Power

Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Democratic Legitimacy
    Book Description:

    Barnard argues that Western democracy, if it is to continue to exist as a legitimate political system, must maintain the integrity of its application of performative principles. Consequently, if both social and political democracy are legitimate goals, limitations designed to curb excessive political power may also be applicable in containing excessive economic power. Barnard stresses that whatever steps are taken to augment civic reciprocity, the observance and self-imposition of publicly recognized standards is vital. Democratic Legitimacy will appeal to political scientists and philosophers, as well as specialists in democratic theory.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6948-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. 1 Themes and Perspectives
    (pp. 3-25)

    Central to most enquiries into political obligation is the question of what makes it rightful to obey governments or, at any rate, to defer to their demands. Important though this question is, it is not always clear if the existence of obedience itself discloses legitimacy or whether legitimacy rests on additional sources of validation. As far as this study is concerned, the major question is not why subjects obey, accept, or consent to governmental rule, but rather how governmental rule is made rightful, both in its claim to authority and in its exercise of authority. More specifically still, it explores...

  5. 2 Legitimacy and Democracy
    (pp. 26-42)

    The concept of legitimacy as a political concept is inherently complex in that it involves at least three distinguishable components: the electoral (constitutional) right to rule; the procedural (normative) rightfulness in the exercise of rule; and the substantive (teleological) rightness in the ends of rule. Each of these components is in truth a separate issue that entails problems of its own. And while, in a democracy, each is contestable in terms of ordering and justifying principles, the basis of contestation is dissisimilar in content and degree, as this and the following three chapters demonstrate. The present chapter focuses on the...

  6. 3 Democracy and Autonomy
    (pp. 43-61)

    Among conceptual justifications of democratic self-authentication, “autonomy” has been paramount, especially since the concept acquired its highly ethical complexion in the writings of Rousseau and Kant. In the form of national self-determination, moreover, autonomy has figured no less prominently in modern understandings of self-government, particularly since Johann Herder’s emphasis on nationality. In attempting to exemplify Weber’s point about the diversity of legitimating claims in support of democratic rightfulness this chapter probes the validity of “autonomy” as a political sanction within two of its democratic applications, one associated with liberal democracy, the other with nationalist expressions of democracy. I shall argue:...

  7. 4 Autonomy, Civility, and Democratic Norms
    (pp. 62-79)

    Does the idea of politics as a self-sustaining realm imply the absence of regulative norms and thereby invite a regime of irresponsibility? Or, conversely, does the autonomy of politics demand strict moral concepts to qualify as a normative order? In negating both questions, I postulate two theses: that a normative order of politics and civic life rest on principles that are other than strictly moral or legal, for the most part, if not exclusively so; and that democracy, as autonomous self-government, requires for its authenticating norms precepts that have beengeneratedby its own procedural activity rather than having been...

  8. 5 Political Principles and Plural Ends
    (pp. 80-97)

    So far our emphasis has been on procedural legitimacy, and we have looked at governmental self-authentication - the self-imposition of standards of probity - essentially through the prism of procedural principles. In the previous chapter, inquiring into the relation between procedural norms and the existence of an autonomous democratic ethic of politics, I suggested the possibility of grounding an ethic through the notion of “rightful decorum,” by dint of its celebration of civic reciprocity as a normative principle that is neither stricdy moral nor strictly legal. While making no explicit mention of democracy, Thomasius’s notion of rightful decorum can nonetheless...

  9. 6 Market Values and Democratic Validation
    (pp. 98-115)

    Agency values commonly associated with the validation of liberal democracy are frequently attributed to the existence of capitalist market economies. This link is increasingly taken for an indisputable fact, and the management of political government is viewed as analogous to the management of business corporations. In this chapter I mainly explore therefore the implied identity between political and economic modalities. Recalling what was said in chapter two about the normativeness of regulatory principles, I here argue that the ordering norms of capitalism and democracy or, indeed, of the market place and the political forum, are not only different but totally...

  10. 7 Rationality and Accountability
    (pp. 116-138)

    Not all theorists of democracy who see parallels between the economic market and the political forum also see an identity in the rationalities operative in each. Although Kenneth Arrow, for example, finds significant similarities between economic processes and political processes, and compares voting “typically used to make ‘political’ decisions” with the market mechanism “typically used to make ‘economic’ decisions,” nevertheless insists that their respective rationalities are fundamentally different.¹ Unlike some contemporary market enthusiasts, Arrow categorically denies that the market mechanism is capable of exercising any social welfare functions unless it is “deliberately manipulated” to do so, since its dominant rationality...

  11. 8 Accountability and Participation
    (pp. 139-161)

    So far, this essay has for the most part dealt with controloverthe self-authentication of democratic rule. In this chapter I want to discuss demands for greater controlwithindemocratic rule, which allows citizens to have a more active role in managing public concerns and reaching political decisions. Two principal issues present themselves: the relation of participation to accountability and the relation of segmental participation to political participation. The latter is the central theme of this chapter, as it links up with the problems of democratic validation and political rationality raised in the the previous two chapters, regarding the...

  12. 9 Critiques and Visions
    (pp. 162-181)

    Chapter five sought to make clear why aiming only at plurality without giving any thought to unity would be like wanting to build a house bricks and no mortar. If liberal democracy were wholly defined in terms of plural autonomies, therefore, it would scarcely qualify as apoliticalsystem. Certainly, while plural diffusion alone may satisfy purely liberal forms of validation, it would not do as a foundation fordemocraticlegitimation. Supposing we grant the truth of this proposition, the question to be asked is whether, conversely, purely democratic forms of validation would be sufficient either.

    The intent of this...

  13. 10 Legitimacy and Limits
    (pp. 182-198)

    The loftiness of a vision in which women and men enter into activities of public concern is undoubtedly one to be cherished from any perspective of democratic legitimacy. In the previous chapter I did not mean to question the intent underlying this vision when I expressed reservations about the form it could assumepolitically.Just as earlier misgivings about identifying political norms with moral norms did not imply the denigration of moral principles, my misgivings about community as an organizing metaphor of political democracy do not imply the denigration of the communal ideal as asocialidea, involving, as it...

  14. 11 The Overall Argument
    (pp. 199-214)

    It may be useful to bring strands of the preceding discussion together by recalling the main themes and emphases, to mention where they differ from other approaches, and to offer some concluding thoughts. Needless to say, any attempt to elicit validating bases of democratic legitimacy meets with profound complexities not only in the issues themselves but also in the conceptual arsenal to be applied in relating them. The final chapter attributes some of these complexities to the tendency to conflate moral and political understandings of legitimacy and to transplant supra-political notions such as rationality, autonomy, or community, from one context...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 215-252)
  16. Index
    (pp. 253-256)