Editorial to the Issue on Legitimization of Private and Public Regulation: Past and Present
This thematic issue brings together research from political science and legal history about legitimacy discourses covering different forms of public–private co-regulation and private self-regulation, domestic and transnational, past and present. These forms of governance highlight the important role of non-state actors in exercising public authority. There has been a growing debate about the legitimacy of non-state actors setting and enforcing norms and providing public goods and services. However, the focus of this thematic issue is not on developing abstract criteria of legitimacy. Rather, the authors analyze legitimacy discourses around different cases of privatized or partly privatized forms of governance from the early 20th century until today. Legitimacy is subject to empirical and not normative analysis. Legitimacy discourses are analyzed in order to shed light on the legitimacy conceptions that actors hold, what they consider as legitimate institutions, and based on what criteria. The particular focus of this thematic issue is to examine whether the significance of democratic legitimacy is decreasing as the importance of regulation exercised by private actors is increasing.
hybrid regulatory regimes; legal history; legitimacy discourses; patterns of legitimation; public and private regulation; transnational governance
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