State legitimacy and government performance in the Horn of Africa

State legitimacy and government performance in the Horn of Africa

Author: 
Bereketeab, Redie
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2020
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
African Studies
Source: 
African Studies, Vol. 79, No. 1, 2020, pp. 51-69
Abstract: 

This article examines state legitimacy and government performance in the Horn of Africa (HOA). Drawing on the literature of the state and specifically on the HOA, as well as on primary research, this article seeks to examine the nature of state legitimacy. The wider literature indicates that state legitimacy derives from two sources: domestic and external. In an ideal situation, a symmetry exists between the two. In reality, however, there is usually an inverted relation. The notion of inverted legitimacy describes a reality where only one source of legitimacy, either domestic or external, prevails at a time. The inverted nature of state legitimacy causes chronic state crisis. The article provides a theoretical and conceptual analysis of legitimacy followed by empirical illustration. To that end, it discusses a number of theoretical and conceptual strands of state legitimacy. It argues that the origin of the state and consecutive external interventions destabilise and distort state legitimacy in the HOA. The article concludes that inverted legitimacy leads the state to malfunction and crisis. It further argues that state legitimacy determines government performance, as the latter also determines the former.

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CITATION: Bereketeab, Redie. State legitimacy and government performance in the Horn of Africa . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2020. African Studies, Vol. 79, No. 1, 2020, pp. 51-69 - Available at: http://library.au.int/state-legitimacy-and-government-performance-horn-africa