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The Great Chain of Legitimacy. Justifying Transnational Democracy
The idea of a ‘chain of legitimation’ is a central thought in German constitutional theory. However, the conception of a chain of legitimacy does not appear to be sufficient to justify transnational democracy. Starting from this diagnosis, the paper introduces an alternative conception of transnational legitimacy. In this conception, the layer of legitimacy provided by the chain of legitimation is complemented by a layer of legitimacy that is provided by political practices at the micro-level of the political process. Our conception of transnational legitimacy – which is based on a twofold concept of normativity that distinguishes between an explicit and an implicit dimension of normativity – presents a deeper understanding of where to locate the normative forces at play within the political process. The aim of the paper is to show that at the transnational level, democratic legitimacy can only emerge if the long and abstract legitimation chains are normatively backed by political practices that include explicit references to the will of the people as well as integrative, context-sensitive performances that prevent acts of exclusion.
No. 123/2010
Frank Nullmeier
Tanja Pritzlaff

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