Convincing State-Builders? Disaggregating Internal Legitimacy in Abkhazia


Journal Article

© 2013 The Authors. International Studies Quarterly published by Wiley periodicals., on behalf of International Studies Association. De facto states, functional on the ground but unrecognized by most states, have long been black boxes for systematic empirical research. This study investigates de facto states' internal legitimacy-people's confidence in the entity itself, the regime, and institutions. While internal legitimacy is important for any state, it is particularly important for de facto states, whose lack of external legitimacy has made internal legitimacy integral to their quest for recognition. We propose that the internal legitimacy of de facto states depends on how convincing they are to their "citizens" as state-builders. Using original data from a 2010 survey in Abkhazia, we examine this argument based on respondent perceptions of security, welfare, and democracy. Our findings suggest that internal legitimacy is shaped by the key Weberian state-building function of monopoly of the legitimate use of force, as well as these entities' ability to fulfill other aspects of the social contract.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bakke, KM; O'Loughlin, J; Toal, G; Ward, MD

Published Date

  • January 1, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 58 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 591 - 607

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1468-2478

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0020-8833

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/isqu.12110

Citation Source

  • Scopus