A Comparison of Institutional Legitimacy Among Undergraduate Students



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Social institutions function well with the support of the public. Historically, the Supreme Court has had a high level of legitimacy to the American public (Gibson, 2007). However, research has also shown that controversial decisions from the high court leads the public to have less confidence in the Court (Grosskopf & Mondak, 1998). The social construction of legitimacy is a fundamental component of both the function and utility of an institution, especially for an institution that issues rulings they expect the public to accept as binding (Tyler, 2006). In light of recent controversial decisions from the Supreme Court, this study focuses on the legitimacy of the Court in the eyes of undergraduate students. Specifically, this study compares the legitimacy of national institutions, like the Supreme Court, to the legitimacy of local or St. Norbert-based institutions. The study will contribute to the literature on institutional legitimacy, and as an added benefit, student respondents might learn more about their own views on social institutions, both locally and more broadly (Feldman & Lynch, 1988).


Dr. Jamie Lynch, Sociology & Director of the Strategic Research Institute

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political science, sociology, institutional legitimacy

A Comparison of Institutional Legitimacy Among Undergraduate Students