The current debate on the legitimacy of western democracies is dominated by a crisis diagnosis, on the one hand, and by the hypothesis of a shift from input to output legitimation, on the other. Little attention is given to the role of the law as the foundation of legitimacy. In a first step, and taking the classical scholarly debate on legality and legitimacy in Germany's Weimar Republic as our starting point, we therefore explore the theoretical place of legal criteria in the input-output typology of legitimation. In the empirical part of our contribution, we use a corpus of newspaper articles from Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States to test the relevance of legal objects and criteria of legitimation in the public sphere of these four democratic systems.

Politische Vierteljahresschrift
Department of Political Science

Wiesner, A. (Achim), Schneider, S. (Steffen), Nullmeier, F. (Frank), Krell-Laluhová, Z. (Zuzana), & Hurrelmann, A. (2006). Legality and legitimacy reconsidered Legalität und Legitimität - Erneut Betrachtet. Politische Vierteljahresschrift, (SUPPL. 36).