This political science project examines the construction of legitimacy in public communication. In the first phase, we asked whether processes of internationalization, deparliamentarization, and privatization have brought about a legitimacy crisis of the democratic nation state. Our analysis of legitimation discourses in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and Switzerland yielded no clear evidence for such a crisis. In the second phase, we collected evidence that helps to corroborate and explain this finding: The legitimacy of nation states is increasingly evaluated in the context of legitimation discourses that focus on international or supranational regimes. Yet, legitimacy assessments in which the acceptability of regimes such as the United Nations, the G8, or the European Union is compared with national political orders and institutions tend to strengthen the latter's rather than the former's legitimacy.
Another important question remains to be addressed: What is the impact of internationalization and privatization processes on the legitimacy of economic orders? In the third phase, we therefore examine the effect of state transformations and the new constellation of political authority on the legitimation of markets, their core institutions, and their key players. Which normative standards are used in asssessments of economic orders? How is the relationship between states and markets evaluated, and has it been viewed differently since the onset of the current financial market and economic crisis? Is the new constellation of political authority - which includes private producers of normative goods - (still) legitimate ("outcome")? We also investigate the reactions of political and economic elites and of counter-elites associated with social movements to the new constellation - that is, their (de-)legitimation practices and policies ("reactions"). We are particularly interested in the consequences of these developments and activities for the nation state: Does it have to secure the legitimacy of international regimes and economic orders (together with its own legitimacy) - and is it able to do so?
Final report 2015 in German
Project application 2011-2014 in German
Project application 2007-2010 in German
Project application 2003-2006 in German