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Legitimising the Postnational European Polity: Re-visiting the Contract Theory and Governmentality

Acar Kutay

No 11, EUROSPHERE Working Paper Series (EWP) from Eurospheres project

Abstract: The main theme of this paper is to investigate how contract theory and governmentality-thinking contribute to the discussions of legitimacy in European governance. For legitimacy of the political rule, consent is a very crucial concept. That the ruled willingly accept to be bound by the decisions of the ruler is a prerequisite for the justified existence of the political system. The question of political obligation, why people obey the rules, has been central to political philosophy. Leaving aside the pre-modern forms of political communities, here the focus is on the modern state which has had the great success of acquiring the consent of the people for its actions in history. The question of how the modern state has secured its legitimacy and prolonged its survival will be discussed in two aspects; 1) social contract theory, 2) the governmentalization of the state argument of Foucault. While the first relates to the why aspect of the political power, the second illuminates the how aspect. The aim here is not to bridge opposing trends of political philosophy, but to use the traditional perspectives on the political re-structuring in Europe.

Keywords: democracy; legitimacy; normative political theory; polity building; political science (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008-09-01
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