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Democratic LegitimacyImpartiality, Reflexivity, Proximity$
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Pierre Rosanvallon

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149486

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149486.001.0001

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The Legitimacy of Establishment

The Legitimacy of Establishment

(p.17) Chapter One The Legitimacy of Establishment
Democratic Legitimacy

Pierre Rosanvallon

, Arthur Goldhammer
Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that, in order to fully understand the significance of electoral legitimation, one has to study the way in which the individualistic legal requirement is embedded in a holistic vision—a vision that treats unanimity as an intrinsic moral, social, and political value. Democratic regimes had eventually adopted the principle of majority rule as a practical procedural necessity, since numerical unanimity was virtually impossible to achieve. Yet at the same time they remained under the sway of this older idea of substantive unanimity. Ultimately, this latent contradiction would eventually undermine the idea that legitimacy can spring from elections alone. In order to gauge the extent of the problem, the chapter embarks on a brief exploration of the old sense of unanimity.

Keywords:   unanimity, numerical unanimity, substantive unanimity, electoral legitimation, modern individualistic states, political legitimacy

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