Social legitimacy, conflict and cohesion in Chile

Social legitimacy, conflict and cohesion in Chile

Año de inicio: 2014
In Process
The present research addresses the question of legitimacy with a focus on the Chilean case concerning three specific topics: support for democracy, trust in public institutions and citizenship participation. The goal is to go beyond the traditional notion of legitimacy considering not only levels of political support but also variations in the levels of support according to a series of individual and contextual characteristics.


The question of legitimacy has been a central concern in the social sciences, particularly since Weber’s, now traditional, typology and the relevance granted to the belief in legitimacy (der  Legitimitätsglaube)  in maintaining power relationships. From Weber’s original conception, legitimacy implies relations with subjective elements that enable the “voluntary submission” to the authorities, beyond the calculations for personal benefits, as well as social conditions for learning obedience. In other words, the authority or the norms are obeyed even when an immediate gain for the agent is not implied. In addition to authority relationships, the concept of legitimacy has been generalised to situations of power, particularly that exercised in nation- states through their distinct institutions in a democratic system. In this environment, the interest for legitimacy is related to a concern for the stability of the democratic systems, which becomes central as it allows for a normative consensus.


Regarding the contextual characteristics, the authors are interested in the influence of public scandals on legitimacy, as well as other elements such as economic indicators and political-electoral cycles. The study will be based on secondary data of the public opinion, which will be complemented by contextual data. First, data will be used from the CEP survey series, which contemplates three measurements per year, from 1990 to the present. For the purpose of international comparison, data will be gathered from the 2012 version of the Latin American Public Opinion Project  (LAPOP). Regarding the methodology, a legitimacy measurement model will be proposed applying structural equations, while the incorporation of context variables will be conducted with multilevel methods.

Start date: June 2014