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The Political Science Section of GAAS: Sources of Legitimacy - Rethinking US-American Democracy

May 25, 2023 - May 27, 2023

Please register here until May 18, 2023.


An attempted coup, voting rights at peril, a loss of trust in politicians and political institutions: no end to the ongoing crises shaking American democracy seems in sight. The legitimacy of central political institutions and actors are under threat. Meanwhile, the international liberal order, which created the framework for American Political Development in the post-World War II moment, is being put into question by the Russian attack on Ukraine and new power blocs undermining American hegemony. 

Legitimacy can be understood as a multi-dimensional concept, encompassing beliefs on the proper sources, values, goals, procedures, and outcomes of a given institutional order. Considering that both the domestic political order in the United States as well as the international order built around American hegemony have come under immense pressure, this conference will provide a forum to discuss the crises of legitimacy of relevant institutions, ideals and actors. 

Which normative ideals have sustained the legitimacy of political institutions and ideals at home and abroad? Why is it that the legitimacy of these institutions and ideals are being questioned so fundamentally at this particular historical moment? What are the consequences of a lack of stability at home for the functioning of democratic institutions? How, if at all, can the legitimacy of democratic institutions be restored? In which ways is the international order changing and how does this affect the legitimacy of the United States as a global actor? In which ways are the national and the global crisis tendencies connected? 

These questions and more will be discussed at the 2023 GAAS Political Science Section conference. 

Time & Location

May 25, 2023 - May 27, 2023

John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies
Lansstr. 7-9
14195 Berlin