Issue 37

Political Legitimation and the Welsh Public Sphere: a Habermasian Analysis

It is often said that Wales’s devolved political institutions suffer from a ‘democratic deficit’, associated with a ‘media deficit’. This article uses the political philosophy of Jürgen Habermas to interpret these claims. The article begins by discussing the central problem and applying Habermas’s theory of legitimation to it (1), before turning to the theory’s key concept, namely the public sphere (2). Part 3 argues that an informal political public sphere is lacking in Wales today and that this undermines the legitimacy of the devolved political settlement, supporting this argument with data (3). The final part of the article places the Welsh case in a broader context, and opens the discussion regarding possible solutions (4).


media, Wales, public sphere, legitimation, devolution, democracy, Habermas


Rees, D. (2024), 'Cyfreithusrwydd Gwleidyddol a’r Gyhoeddfa Gymreig: Dadansoddiad Habermasaidd', Gwerddon, 37, 62–82.

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