Habermas argues that Western societies have succeeded to some extent in stabilizing the economic fluctuations associated with capitalism, but this has created a new range of crisis tendencies which are expressed in other spheres. States intervene in economic life and attempt to regulate markets, but they find themselves confronted by increasing and often conflicting demands. As individuals become increasingly disillusioned, the state is faced with the possibility of a mass withdrawal of loyalty or support - a 'legitimation crisis'.
Widely recognized as a classic of contemporary social and political analysis, Legitimation Crisis sheds light on a range of issues which are central to current debates, from the decline of class conflict and the disillusionment with established political institutions to the crisis of the welfare state. It remains essential reading for students of sociology, politics and the social sciences generally.
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