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Revisiting the 'Legitimacy - Effectiveness Dilemma' of environmental protection: the importance of considering personal values in researching environmental policy legitimacy
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Social Sciences.
2008 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The ‘legitimacy - effectiveness dilemma' of environmental protection in contemporary (liberal) democracies indicates that a choice has to be made between implementing policies and policy instruments which are effective in their long-term protection of the environment, or implementing policies which are legitimate in the sense that they respect and abide by core liberal principles. Theoretically, this notion has led to a range of attempts to demonstrate that (some forms of) sustainability are compatible with (some forms of) liberal democracy. Empirically, the dilemma has also had political implications as most governments are reluctant to frame the environmental challenge as requiring a fundamental attitude- and lifestyle changes. However, the notion of a legitimacy - effectiveness dilemma rest on fundamental assumptions lacking an important piece of the legitimacy-puzzle, which makes it difficult to reach a reliable conclusion on what the balancing of legitimacy and effectiveness in environmental policy-making requires. Missing from the notion of legitimacy as an ultimately normative concept is empirically determined answers to the questions on why people either accept or reject the policy; as well as which set of values that, in each particular context, must be respected in order for legitimacy to be at hand? Finding these answers require an examination of the personal values held by the majority of citizens; those values that are truly established in society and therefore can form the basis for a legitimate relationship, and an initial empirical testing of this approach to legitimacy also suggests that the obstacles to strong environmental protection should be less significant in political practice than in theory, as people seem willing to trade individual freedom for stronger environmental protection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: SHARP Research Program , 2008. , 19 p.
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-24737Local ID: c41c7c10-7372-11dd-a60f-000ea68e967bOAI: diva2:997789
Godkänd; 2008; 20080826 (simon_m)Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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