UCL European Institute


Through the Looking Glass: Political Legitimacy from Multiple Angles

13 July 2019, 9:00 am–7:30 pm


Event Information

Open to

All | Invitation Only




UCL European Institute


To be confirmed
United Kingdom


This workshop brings together researchers working on political legitimacy from a range of disciplinary and methodological perspectives; from political philosophy over law, criminology, and behaviouralist survey-based social science to qualitative approaches and international relations. The purpose of the workshop is to engage with each other's takes on legitimacy:

  • What kinds of questions do we ask about legitimacy, and what kinds of answers have we found; what are major fault lines of debate and lines of inquiry in our respective fields?
  • What definitions or notions of political legitimacy do we advance and work with, and what is the picture of legitimacy that emerges from our work on it?
  • What kinds of methodological approaches have we applied to legitimacy, respectively, and how do they shape what we can expect to see?
  • What can we learn from each other? Can other ways of looking at legitimacy help us to think differently about the questions we want to ask about legitimacy, or can we begin to offer answers to each other’s questions? 

This event is by invitation. If you would like to attend, please contact the convenor at c.sternberg@ucl.ac.uk.




Registration and coffee: 9:00-9:15

9:15-9:45 Welcome and introduction: Beliefs, norms, and spaces in between Claudia Sternberg (UCL European Institute, Politics)

9:45-11:15 Panel 1: Frameworks of legitimacy

Chair: Albert Weale (UCL, Political Theory and Public Policy)

  • Amanda Greene (UCL, Political Philosophy): The Logic of Legitimacy
  • Richard Bellamy (UCL, Political Science): A Republican Account of Legitimacy
  • Tom Christiano (University of Arizona, Philosophy): How to think about legitimacy in international institutions

11:15-11:30 Coffee break

11:30-13:00 Panel 2: Legitimacy in practice

Chair: Oliver Gerstenberg (UCL, Laws)

  • Silje Aambø Langvatn (Oslo, Public and International Law, formerly Pluricourts): What is it we disagree about, when we disagree about the legitimacy of an institution?
  • Nomi Lazar (Yale/National University of Singapore College, Political Theory): Rhetorical framing in dynamic practices of legitimation
  • Rodney Barker (LSE, Government): Who is legitimation for?

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:30 Panel 3: Legitimacy and the law, and law enforcement

Chair: Nomi Lazar

  • Jon Jackson (LSE, Methodology): Norms, normativity and the legitimacy of legal authorities
  • Ben Bradford (UCL, Security and Crime Science/Global City Policing): Police legitimacy and social identity
  • TBC

15:30-15:45 Coffee break

15:45-17:15 Panel 4: Consequences, measures, and crises of legitimacy

Chair: Claudia Sternberg

  • Alicia Blanco González (King Juan Carlos University, Business Administration): European state legitimacy: a cross-country comparison
  • Thomas Sommerer (University of Stockholm, Political Science): The consequences of legitimacy in global governance
  • Chris Lord (Arena Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo, Politics): What power relations require justification in the case of the European Union? Implications for legitimacy crisis

17:15-17:30 Wine and nibbles

17:30-18:30 Closing session: Can your answers help to question my questions?

Chair: Richard Bellamy

19:00 Dinner

Organised by the UCL European Institute, this event is part of the legitimacy strand of our Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence Programme.  

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Photo by Ramon Kagie on Unsplash