A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

The Bithplace of the Arab Spring: Values and Perceptions of Tunisians

The Bithplace of the Arab Spring: Values and Perceptions of Tunisians


Legitimacy is a central concern for defining and developing public policy in response to covert 
and illegal networks. However, while scholarship on violent conflict has identified legitimacy as 
a critical concern for the success and resilience of both violent insurgencies and the governments 
fighting them, the relevance of this insight for policy development suffers from two critical 
limitations. First, the effects of legitimation vary widely from case to case, resulting in a broad 
consensus that legitimacy is a purely local phenomenon, and limiting the generalizability of 
insights gained from any given case. Second, conceptualizations of legitimacy are widely 
inconsistent within the literature on violent conflict, and are often too abstract to be effectively 
applied in the context of policy analysis. In this research we address these two critical problems 
in the study of legitimacy by developing a framework for evaluating variations in the effects of 
legitimation as the product of different configurations of sources, forms, and bases for the 
legitimation of actors involved in conflict. We demonstrate the utility of our framework through 
in-depth analyses of legitimacy and resilience for two violent non-state actors: the Kurdistan 
Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey, and Jemaah Islamia, which operates in Indonesia. 


Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Moaddel, Mansoor (2013) Configuring Legitimacy: A Framework to Legitimation in Armed Conflict. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (Jan). http://www.appam.org/assets/1/7/Configuring_Legitimacy_A_Framework_for_Legitimation_in_Armed_Conflict.pdf. (April 2, 2014)

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