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Civil legitimacy can be granted through different measures for accountability [10] than voting, such as financial transparency [11] and stake-holder accountability. In the international system another method for measuring civil legitimacy is through accountability to international human rights norms. In an effort determine what makes a government legitimate the Center for Public Impact launched a project to hold a global conversation about legitimacy stating, inviting citizens, academics and governments to participate.

The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commission OHCHR established standards of what is considered "good governance" that include the key attributes transparency, responsibility, accountability, participation and responsiveness to the needs of the people. Assessing the political legitimacy of a government can be done by looking at three different aspects of which a government can derive legitimacy. Fritz Scharpf introduced two normative criteria, which are output legitimacy, i. A third normative criterion was added by Vivien Schmidt , who analyzes legitimacy also in terms of what she calls throughput, i.

Abulof distinguishes between negative political legitimacy NPL , which is about the object of legitimation answering what is legitimate , and positive political legitimacy PPL , which is about the source of legitimation answering who is the 'legitimator'. From the NPL perspective, political legitimacy emanates from appropriate actions; from a PPL perspective, it emanates from appropriate actors. In the social contract tradition, Hobbes and Locke focused on NPL stressing security and liberty, respectively , while Rousseau focused more on PPL "the people" as the legitimator.

Arguably, political stability depends on both forms of legitimacy. Weber's understanding of legitimacy rests on shared values , such as tradition and rational-legality.

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But policies that aim at re- constructing legitimacy by improving the service delivery or 'output' of a state often only respond to shared needs. Instrumental legitimacy is very much based on the perceived effectiveness of service delivery. Conversely, substantive legitimacy is a more abstract normative judgment, which is underpinned by shared values. If a person believes that an entity has the right to exercise social control, he or she may also accept personal disadvantages.


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Max Weber proposed that societies behave cyclically in governing themselves with different types of governmental legitimacy. That democracy was unnecessary for establishing legitimacy, a condition that can be established with codified laws, customs, and cultural principles, not by means of popular suffrage. That a society might decide to revert from the legitimate government of a rational—legal authority to the charismatic government of a leader; e. The French political scientist Mattei Dogan 's contemporary interpretation of Weber's types of political legitimacy traditional, charismatic, legal-rational proposes that they are conceptually insufficient to comprehend the complex relationships that constitute a legitimate political system in the twenty-first century.

After The History of Madness , Foucault began to focus on the discursive, bracketing political concerns almost entirely. This was first, and most clearly, signalled in the preface to his next book, The Birth of the Clinic. Although the book itself essentially extends The History of Madness chronologically and thematically, by examining the birth of institutional medicine from the end of the eighteenth century, the preface is a manifesto for a new methodology that will attend only to discourses themselves, to the language that is uttered, rather than the institutional context.

Whereas in The History of Madness and The Birth of the Clinic , Foucault had pursued historical researches that had been relatively balanced between studying conventional historical events, institutional change, and the history of ideas, The Order of Things represented an abstract history of thought that ignored almost anything outside the discursive. His specific claims were indeed quite unique, namely that in the history of academic discourses, in a given epoch, knowledge is organized by an episteme , which governs what kind of statements can be taken as true.

The Order of Things charts several successive historical shifts of episteme in relation to the human sciences. These claims led Foucault onto a collision with French Marxism.

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This could not have been entirely unintended by Foucault, in particular because in the book he specifically accuses Marxism of being a creature of the nineteenth century that was now obsolete. Foucault here was opposing a particular conception of the human being as a sovereign subject who can understand itself. In its humanist form, Marxism cast itself as a movement for the full realization of the individual. Foucault, by contrast, saw the notion of the individual as a recent and aberrant idea. Furthermore, his entire presumption to analyse and criticize discourses without reference to the social and economic system that produced them seemed to Marxists to be a massive step backwards in analysis.

The book indeed seems to be apolitical: it refuses to take a normative position about truth, and accords no importance to anything outside abstract, academic discourses. The Order of Things proved so controversial, its claims so striking, that it became a best-seller in France, despite being a lengthy, ponderous, scholarly tome. It is thus not a total rejection of Marxism, or dismissal of the importance of economics. His anti-humanist position was not in itself anti-Marxist, inasmuch as Althusser took much the same line within a Marxist framework, albeit one that tended to challenge basic tenets of Marxism, and which was rejected by the Marxist establishment.

Foucault thus shows a lack of interest in the political, but no outright denial of the importance of politics. Foucault was at this time fundamentally oriented towards the study of language. This should not in itself be construed as apolitical. There was a widespread intellectual tendency in France during the s to focus on avant-garde literature as being the main repository for radical hopes, eclipsing a traditional emphasis on the politics of the working class.

Foucault wrote widely during this period on art and literature, publishing a book on the obscure French author Raymond Roussel, which appeared on the same day as The Birth of the Clinic. For Foucault, modern art and literature are essentially transgressive. All of these works, no matter how abstract, can be seen as having important political-cultural stakes for Foucault.

The practical importance of such questions can be seen in The History of Madness. Foucault was ultimately dissatisfied with this approach, however. The Archaeology of Knowledge , a reflective consideration of the methodology of archaeology itself, ends with an extraordinary self-critical dialogue, in which Foucault answers imagined objections to this methodology. Foucault wrote The Archaeology of Knowledge while based in Tunisia, where he had taken a three-year university appointment in While the book was in its final stages, the world around him changed.

Tunisia went through a political upheaval, with demonstrations against the government, involving many of his students. He was drawn into supporting them, and was persecuted as a result. Much better known and more significant student demonstrations occurred in Paris shortly afterwards, in May of Foucault largely missed these because he was in Tunis, but he followed news of them keenly.

He returned to France permanently in He was made the head of the philosophy department at a brand new university at Vincennes. The milieu he found on his return to France was itself highly politicized, in stark contrast to the relatively staid country he had left behind three years before. He was surrounded by peers who had become committed militants, not least his partner Daniel Defert, and including almost all of the colleagues he had hired to his department.

He now threw himself into an activism that would characterize his life from that point on. It was not long before a new direction appeared in his thought to match. For the first time, Foucault sets out an explicit agenda of studying institutions alongside discourse.

This is clearly a turn back to the considerations of The History of Madness. The genealogical inquiry asks about the reciprocal relationship between systems of exclusion and the formation of discourses. The point here is that exclusion is not a fate that befalls innocent, pre-existing discourses. Rather, discourses only ever come about within and because of systems of exclusion, the negative moment of exclusion co-existing with the positive moment of the production of discourse.

Now, discourse becomes a political question in a full sense for Foucault, as something that is intertwined with power. This research on prisons began in activism. The French state had banned several radical leftist groups in the aftermath of May , and thousands of their members ended up in prisons, where they began to agitate for political rights for themselves, then began to agitate for rights for prisoners in general, having been exposed by their incarceration to ordinary prisoners and their problems.

This group, composed primarily of intellectuals, sought simply to empower prisoners to speak of their experiences on their own account, by sending surveys out to them and collating their responses. In tandem with this effort, Foucault researched the history of the prisons, aiming to find out something that the prisoners themselves could not tell him: how the prison system had come into being and what purpose it served in the broader social context. Discipline and Punish thus comprises two main historical theses.

One, specifically pertaining to the prison system, is that this system regularly produces an empirically well-known effect, a layer of specialized criminal recidivists. This is for Foucault simply what prisons objectively do. Pointing this out undercuts the pervasive rationale of imprisonment that prisons are there to reduce crime by punishing and rehabilitating inmates.

Foucault considers the obvious objection to this that prisons only produce such effects because they have been run ineffectively throughout their history, that better psychological management of rehabilitation is required, in particular. He answers this by pointing out that such discourses of prison reform have accompanied the prison system since it was first established, and are hence part of its functioning, indeed propping it up in spite of its failures by providing a constant excuse for its failings by arguing that it can be made to work differently.

Discipline began not with the prisons, but originally in monastic institutions, spreading out through society via the establishment of professional armies, which required dressage, the training of individual soldiers in their movements so that they could coordinate with one another with precision. The prison is just one of a raft of broadly similar disciplinary institutions that come into existence later. Schools, hospitals, and factories all combine similar methods to prisons for arranging bodies regularly in space, down to their minute movements.


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All combine moreover similar functions. Like the prison, they all have educational, economically productive, and medical aspects to them. The differences between these institutions is a matter of which aspect has primacy. Discipline and Punish begins with a vivid depiction of an earlier form of power in France, specifically the execution in of a man who had attempted to kill the King of France. As was the custom, for this, the most heinous of crimes in a political system focused on the person of the king, the most severe punishment was meted out: the culprit was publicly tortured to death.

Foucault contrasts this with the routinized imprisonment that became the primary form of punishing criminals in the 19th century. From a form of power that punished by extraordinary and exemplary physical harm against a few transgressors, Western societies adopted a form of power that attempted to capture all individual behaviour. This serves as something of a paradigm for the disciplinary imperative, though it was never realized completely in practice. Systems of monitoring and control nevertheless spread through all social institutions: schools, workplaces, and the family.

While criminals had in a sense already been punished individually, they were not treated as individuals in the full sense that now developed. Disciplinary institutions such as prisons seek to develop detailed individual psychological profiles of people, and seek to alter their behaviour at the same level.

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Where previously most people had been part of a relatively undifferentiated mass, individuality being the preserve of a prominent or notorious few, and even then a relatively thin individuality, a society of individuals now developed, where everyone is supposed to have their own individual life story. This constitutes the soul Foucault refers to. The thread of individualization runs through his next book, the first of what were ultimately three volumes of his History of Sexuality. He gave this volume the title The Will to Knowledge. It appeared only a year after Discipline and Punish.

The next year, , Foucault gave a series of lectures entitled Abnormal.

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Parts of these lectures indeed effectively reappear in The Will to Knowledge. Like Discipline and Punish , the Will to Knowledge contains both general and specific conclusions. Foucault allows the core historical claim that there has been sexual repressiveness, but thinks that this is relatively unimportant in the history of sexuality.

Much more important, he thinks, is an injunction to talk about our sexuality that has consistently been imposed even during the years of repressiveness, and is now intensified, ostensibly for the purpose of lifting our repression. Foucault again sees a disciplinary technique at work, namely confession.

This began in the Catholic confessional, with the Church spreading the confessional impulse in relation to sex throughout society in the early modern period. But open your statute book and find that old corporations law. Corporations , legal persons, can only express themselves by "seal", which is a fancy word for the signature of their duly authorized representative, although many corporation still go through the unnecessary and archaic exercise of ordering a round, unique corporate emblem from a stationery store which they press onto a red adhesive seal to complete their contracts.

Or, for the real keeners, the corporate seal is designed to be pressed onto wax, all to make their official signatures look, and this depends on the point of view, "corporate-like". Some might say bizarre with modern corporate law all but eliminating the need for an actual seal as it were. School-age children eventually see the power of the signature as they observe the ceremony and solemnity of their parent's signatures on cheques or contracts. So they practise, as we all have as teenagers, as a rite of passage, a signature that captures our own distinct name and combination of letters.

School notepads or diaries become full of prototype signatures This is done with hardly a thought to the future exercise of their hand, as in law this symbol will be asked of them on an almost daily basis to legally bind them to some obligation or to some declaration. To the unfortunate teenager or adult, the signature can cut deeply such as when it informs the reader of the end of a loving relationship, the departure from their life of a loved one, as in the infamous but signed "Dear John letter" or divorce papers.

The teenager comes, later, to realize that there is even a "Smart Car" of signatures, the initials , a small hand-written version of the signature and as legally binding as the signature. But the signature is much more than a piece of doodling or unique childhood art. With it, the adult child will walk through life and cross the many Rubicons which each contract is, some small such as their first student loan , but some for very long commitments such as the marriage application form or the purchase and mortgage on their home and lastly, the living will they may have to sign, tears streaming down their cheeks.

So significant is the standing of a signature in law that a court will accept evidence based only on a person's original signature, albeit backed up by bare oath that what is written is truthful in all regards i. In law, to, a signature survives the signatory in their will , determining who gets their things and who manages their affairs.

As it fades out of the legal landscape, so bent, it sometimes seems, to adjust to the Internet, rather than the other way around, I will risk the moniker of Neanderthal in standing up not just to the sheer beauty and sentimentality of the signature in the law, but to the relative certainty of contractual acceptance it affords. Eventually, our unique signature falls prey to failing hands. But for so long as I have the ability to do so, I want to sign my marriage certificate, my mortgage, my birthday cards to my daughters, my legal documents, my will and my opinions.