Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Narratives of Legitimacy

Monroe Edwin Price


Narratives of legitimacy include the highest-level justifications for states and regimes, narratives of divine right, narratives of electoral or democratic affirmation, narratives of conquest, narratives of historical entitlement. These narratives can seem solid and eternal yet history shows they are fragile and ephemeral, that they can vanish in a day. They are the product of myth, of past achievement and often of international accord and consensus. Shifts can come from changing global values, from economic pressure, from ideological challenge from outside or out, from dissent, or from improbable moments of mass conversion. Narratives of legitimacy —and their alternatives— are nourished by competing groups —for example, supporters of a regime (be they stakeholders or merely conservatives) and its long-term opponents (both domestic and foreign). Transformations come from changes in the state’s own telling of its story, both at home and globally, and from the increasing role of other major players in accepting, fashioning or rejecting justificatory narratives. Failing states —those without any convincing narrative of legitimacy— may use coercive speech restrictions to protect themselves from criticism or insult or other methods of undermining them.

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ISSN paper: 1138-3305. ISSN electrònic: 2340-5007

Facultat de Comunicació Blanquerna. Universitat Ramon Llull.