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Configuring Legitimacy: A Framework for Legitimation in Armed Conflict

June 24, 2014 09:00 AM

In this paper, first presented at the 2013 Fall Research Conference in Washington, DC, University of Arizona authors Eric Schoon, Alexandra Joosse, and H. Brinton Milward address two critical problems in the study of legitimacy by developing a framework for evaluating variations in the effects of legitimation as the product of different configurations of sources, forms, and bases for the legitimation of actors involved in conflict.

Legitimacy is a central concern for defining and developing public policy in response to covert and illegal networks. However, while scholarship on violent conflict has identified legitimacy as a critical concern for the success and resilience of both violent insurgencies and the governments fighting them, the relevance of this insight for policy development suffers from two critical limitations. First, the effects of legitimation vary widely from case to case, resulting in a broad consensus that legitimacy is a purely local phenomenon, and limiting the generalizability of insights gained from any given case. Second, conceptualizations of legitimacy are widely inconsistent within the literature on violent conflict, and are often too abstract to be effectively applied in the context of policy analysis.

Read the entire paper [PDF]

 

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