New IOS Think Paper on Contested Institutional Legitimacy

Boerenprotest in Den Haag, 2019. Bron: Flickr/Kees Torn
Boerenprotest in Den Haag, 2019. Bron: Flickr/Kees Torn

Institutions for Open Societies is pleased to announce the publication of the third paper in its Think Paper Series. In this new edition, scholars Georg Frerks (Humanities) and Niels Terpstra (Utrecht University School of Governance) explore the consequences of delegitimation and counter-legitimation on open societies.

Cover of the IOS Think Paper #3

State institutions are deemed to be representative and responsive to the population. But what happens if segments of the population do not feel represented by these institutions and believe the state is not responsive to their needs? What happens to the legitimacy that these institutions purport to possess?

Taking recent experiences in the Netherlands as empirical examples, Frerks and Terpstra address processes of delegitimation and counter-legitimation by which existing forms of governance and their claimed legitimacy are challenged by a variety of actors. The three highlighted cases are the childcare allowance affair, the Farmers Defence Force and the 5G conspiracies. Each of these examples teach us something about the delegitimation of institutional legitimacy in our own country, Frerks and Terpstra argue. Moreover, they all occupy a different position on the thin line between democratic and less democratic oppositional processes.

Georg Frerks is Professor Emeritus of Conflict Prevention and Conflict Management at Utrecht University and Professor Emeritus of International Security Studies at the Netherlands Defence Academy.

Niels Terpstra is Assistant Professor at the Utrecht University School of Governance (USG) and Advisor at USG consultancy.

To the think paper