Legitimacy: A Relational Perspective

7 Mart 2023

Eric W. Schoon

10th March, Friday, 14:00

The talk will take place online. We would be very pleased if you could join us at through the link below;


Legitimacy: A Relational Perspective

Legitimacy fundamentally implies a relationship between an object of legitimacy and an audience that evaluates the object. While the relational nature of legitimacy is evident in diverse definitions of the construct, empirical research routinely treats legitimacy as either an attribute of the object, a perception of observers, or a characteristic of a social environment. These disparate approaches to conceptualization (and, consequently, measurement) have fostered substantive and theoretical fragmentation both between and within areas of study. In this talk, I outline a relational alternative for conceptualizing and measuring legitimacy. I detail how this relational perspective resolves long-standing debates surrounding the effects of legitimacy. I also discuss how it bridges the conceptual divide between the way legitimacy is invoked as an analytic category in the social sciences versus a practical category in everyday life.

Eric W. Schoon is Associate Professor of sociology at The Ohio State University. His current research centers on three projects that each explore theoretical and practical dimensions of social science methodology. The first project builds on Schoon’s long-standing research on legitimacy in contentious politics to explore how methodology shapes the ways that legitimacy is theorized in the social sciences. A second project examines how politics shape ethnographic practice, with a particular focus on the role of suspicion—both the suspicions that ethnographers face, and their own suspicions of others—in fieldwork. Finally, Schoon recently completed a co-authored book manuscript that advances a case-oriented approach to regression analysis. His work has appeared in outlets including American Sociological Review, Journal of Politics, Social Forces, Social Problems, Sociological Science, and Sociological Methods & Research.