Examine and Assess the View That the Legitimacy of States Is Always Contested. Essay

3208 WordsJun 1, 201313 Pages
Lisa Howells (C367439X) Examine and assess the view that the legitimacy of states is always contested. To examine this view we first need to define the terminology 'state'. The state can be defined as an organised community living under a unified political system, the government. The 'state' refers to the politicians that comprise the leadership and the machinery of government that allows laws and policies to be enforced. These include agencies with coercive powers such as the police and military, the judicial system and revenue agencies which bring in the revenue to fund these agencies. It also consists of improvement organisations such as healthcare and education. To examine and assess the view that the legitimacy of states is always being contested this assignment will study various pieces of evidence arguing both sides of this claim. Max Weber, cited in Blakely & Saward (2009) defined state as 'a human community that successfully claims a monopoly of the use of force in a given territory'(Weber, 1991, p78). We see how a state can be legitimised by the human community, through political legitimacy. This is where a political party is given the authority to govern by the majority of voters; but can be seen to be contested by the sheer number of voters that vote for opposing parties. John Locke (1991, p524) said that 'political legitimacy derives from popular explicit and implicit consent of the governed. The government is not legitimate unless it is carried on with the consent of the governed,' reiterating the idea that it is the population of a state that determines the legitimacy of the state. Weber's idea was that only the state could use force and violence legitimately when, for example, the country goes to war. If an individual used force or violence on another individual they could be arrested by the police (a state run organisation) and may
Open Document