Democratic Leadership and the Problem of Legitimacy

John Kane and Patapan Haig

in The Democratic Leader

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199650477
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739071 | DOI:
Democratic Leadership and the Problem of Legitimacy

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This chapter argues that popular sovereignty, though unrealizable as a practical principle, nevertheless operates continuously by challenging and constraining leaders who must defer to the popular will. The result is a twofold politics: politics-as-usual and the politics of legitimacy. The latter concerns the leader’s permanent need to show the democratic legitimacy of every act and decision in the face of often contradictory demands. The impossible democratic expectation that a leader should be, simultaneously, an agent, a ‘mirror’ representative, and a trustee is one of the major themes of the chapter.

Keywords: legitimacy; sovereignty; agency; representation

Chapter.  7962 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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