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(2019) The political theory of modus vivendi, Dordrecht, Springer.

Legitimacy and modus vivendi theory

Fabian Wenner

pp. 169-183

John Horton has recently (The political theory of modus vivendi. Springer, 2018) combined the theory of modus vivendi with a hybrid conception of legitimacy. This chapter explores the relation between the two, places the proposal in the wider context of legitimacy theory, and assesses whether modus vivendi legitimacy could be an alternative to liberal notions of legitimacy. The combination of descriptive and normative elements brings about an understanding of legitimacy that incurs problems in some cases, especially as it relates to Horton's theory of political obligation. It will be argued that modus vivendi theory may be, contrary to what Horton suggests, better off without the specific theory of legitimacy that he offers—instead, an even more limited notion of legitimacy might suffice and steer clear of the challenges developed in the chapter. However, it seems as if modus vivendi theory is necessary for the defense of Horton's theory of legitimacy and political obligation. Depending on one's theoretical interests and commitments, then, one may choose to separate or reinforce the link between modus vivendi and the hybrid conception of legitimacy.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-79078-7_10

Full citation:

Wenner, F. (2019)., Legitimacy and modus vivendi theory, in J. Horton, M. Westphal & U. Willems (eds.), The political theory of modus vivendi, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 169-183.

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