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Legitimacy is a key concept in any effort both to theorize how governance works and to evaluate its outcome. This chapter looks at legitimacy as primarily being about justification of authority and provides an overview of the diverse ways the concept is approached in the governance literature, ranging from national to global, from transnational to public–private or multi-stakeholder contexts of governance. It outlines some of the challenges around legitimacy that emerge particularly in contexts of governance, including the diversity in sources of input and output legitimacy and the ambiguity in identifying whose legitimacy claims count or should count when boundaries of authority are unclear. Finally, the chapter identifies some directions for further research that would deepen our understanding of the role legitimacy plays in governance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Theories of Governance
EditorsChristopher Ansell, Jacob Torfing
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
ISBN (Electronic)9781782548508
ISBN (Print)9781782548492
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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    Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S. I. S. E. (2016). Legitimacy. In C. Ansell, & J. Torfing (Eds.), Handbook on Theories of Governance (pp. 197-204). Edward Elgar.