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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that the normative theories of democracy invoked in debates about global democracy construe the institutional ingredients of democracy’s political legitimacy too narrowly: they focus on contributions to political legitimacy made by institutions of democratic social choice-making, such as elections and public deliberative structures, while neglecting those made by institutionalized governance capabilities, of the kind historically embodied in sovereign states. This narrow focus becomes problematic when we shift our focus to democratization at the global level, where key governance functions of sovereign institutions are weak or absent. To understand the institutional prerequisites for political legitimacy within a global democracy, I argue that we therefore need to build and apply a broader theoretical understanding of political legitimacy that can more systematically account for its governance capability dimensions.

Keywords: democracy, political legitimacy, sovereignty, global governance, common interest, institutional practice

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