, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 399-417
Date: 10 Apr 2008

Legitimation and Strategic Maneuvering in the Political Field

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This article combines a pragma-dialectical conception of argumentation, a sociological conception of legitimacy and a sociological theory of the political field. In particular, it draws on the theorization of the political field developed by Pierre Bourdieu and tries to determine what new insights into the concept of strategic maneuvering might be offered by a sociological analysis of the political field. I analyze a speech made by the President of Romania, Traian Băsescu, following his suspension by Parliament in April 2007. I suggest that the argument developed in this speech can be regarded as an example of adjudication and I discuss its specificity as an adjudication in the political field in an electoral campaign. I also try to relate legitimation as political strategy to strategic maneuvering oriented to meeting the contradictory demands of the political field, which I see—following Bourdieu—as involving a double political game, a game of democratic representation and a game of power.