Public Authority Beyond Hybrid Governance: Creating Throughput Legitimacy in Northern Uganda

Start date
Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 13:00
End date
Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 14:00
Room 4.01

Research in Progress E+ Seminar by Damir Kapidžić , Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Sarajevo


Governance must be based on public authority that is considered legitimate within a society. In hybrid governance settings, public authority is assumed to derive from some form of local legitimacy, under the assumption that all things local are legitimate. Yet this assumption is rarely questioned or analysed. This research attempts to examine the process of how public authority is legitimised on the local level by looking at decision-making on the resolution of land conflict in Northern Uganda.

I argue that public authority relies on procedural forms of legitimization that can best be conceptualised as "throughput legitimacy" and results from repeatedly making decisions in inclusive and communally agreeable ways. Findings are based on semi-structured interviews with local leaders involved in mediation and adjudication on land conflict. Public authority is identified as simultaneously shared and contested between (and amongst) formal and traditional authority, continuously re-created through daily local-level interactions.

Mediation is especially found to have a positive impact on throughput legitimacy. Going beyond the focus on local vs. international and formal vs. traditional actors in hybrid governance, this research suggests that a stronger focus on legitimizing processes can lead to a better understanding of public authority.

Publication date: 8 February 2017