The Pursuit of Legitimacy. Power and its manifestations in political history

Country: Netherlands

City: Leiden

Abstr. due: 01.04.2018

Dates: 25.10.18 — 26.10.18

Organizing comittee e-mail: phdpolhis@gmail.com

Organizers: Leiden University

 

Some political questions are never to be solved. The question of legitimacy is one of these issues that keep pressing themselves on history. How the wielding of political power is justified and contested hangs over the past as an open-ended question. Legitimacy may therefore very well be one of the great themes of political history. In the 4th annual workshop of the Political History PhD Network, PhDs from all over the world are invited to present their work and discuss this crucial question, thereby contributing to new historiographical perspectives on legitimacy.

Throughout history, legitimacy has been a contested concept. It was open to debate and dependent on mediation. As a political question, legitimacy was at play at intersections of different ideological outlooks. The issue of what constitutes a legitimate exercise of power, or a legitimate cause for revolt and resistance, engages all levels and spheres of political activity, from the individual actor to, for instance, the global structures of imperialism. The question of legitimacy therefore touches upon all the core themes of political history, including the topics of continuity and change, the workings of institutions, the dynamics of conflict, the functioning of networks, the spread of ideas, and the performativity of power. In encompassing these subjects, this workshop aims to bring together historians working on diverse periods and places.

The workshop’s central questions are: how did historical actors try to legitimate new capacities of power? How did discourses of legitimacy determine the shape and functioning of political organizations? In what ways was legitimacy depicted, imagined and acted out? How did understandings of legitimacy relate to notions of illegitimacy? How were dominant readings of legitimacy contested? How was legitimacy mediated between different settings and groups of people? Together, these questions should help us to grasp the multitude of ways in which historical actors thought about and engaged with legitimacy as a central issue of political activity.

We encourage applications on topics including (but not limited to) the following areas:

    Theories of legitimacy
    Diplomacy and legitimacy
    Legitimacy in official and societal organizations
    Discourses and depictions of illegitimacy
    The legitimacy of violence and political resistance
    Legitimacy amidst continuity and change

 

Conference Web-Site: http://www.associationforpoliticalhistory.org/?p=790