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Legitimacy and compliance in transnational governance


  • Mayntz, Renate


Power, rule, and legitimacy have always been core concerns of political science. In the 1970s, when governability appeared to be problematic, legitimacy was discussed both in the context of policy research and by critics of the capitalist state. More recently interest turned to governance beyond the nation-state. The legitimacy of transnational (i.e., European and international) organizations, of international regimes and of the - hard or soft - law they formulate is held to be deficient because they are lacking in democratic legitimation. This discussion only rarely refers to Max Weber. This paper tries to show that returning to Max Weber can clarify some points in the discussion of legitimacy and compliance beyond the nation-state. Relating the alternatives to democratic legitimation to Weber's concept of legal legitimacy throws a new light on the presumed legitimacy deficit in transnational governance that makes it appear less dramatic. With Max Weber we can also develop a more sanguine view of the consequences of legitimacy deficits for compliance.

Suggested Citation

  • Mayntz, Renate, 2010. "Legitimacy and compliance in transnational governance," MPIfG Working Paper 10/5, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgw:105

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