Can Power Be Humanized? The Notions of Elite and Legitimation in István Bibó's Political Philosophy

Studies in East European Thought 51 (4):307-327 (1999)
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Istvan Bibó was the clandestine politological authority during the late Kadar period, and was rediscovered after the fall of communism. The essay examines and reconstructs the notions of elite and legitimation in Bibó''s political philosophy. As a young thinker he confronted the value crisis between the two world wars. He was influenced by Oswald Spengler''s and Ortega y Gasset''s theories of elites. The essay analyses the similarities and differences in their views. In Bibó''s conceptual world, the theory of elites is connected with the issue of legitimation, because in his opinion the crisis of elites always results in a crisis of legitimation. Bibó''s analysis of elites, their social responsibilities as well as the types of legitimization are highly instructive for us since they help us rethink our conceptions of the social roles of elites and political legitimation under conditions of globalisation.



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