The genealogical method, where an idea is traced back to its roots as one would map a family tree, began in the nineteenth century substantially, it seems, with Nietzsche and in particular On the Genealogy of Morals. It is in one sense an attempt to escape the trappings of history, to understand the lineage of ideas in the context of their time. In another, it is an attempt to loose ourselves from the alienating influences of modernity, stripping ourselves of prejudice and ‘education’. For the independent researcher, it appears to me to be an essential tool in understanding things, and in plotting a research agenda.
State Legitimacy is a big topic. Yesterday, the good people at the University acceded to my request for external reader status, giving me access to the University subscriptions to online journals. I didn’t have a ready made list of journals to download (remote access is unfortunately not available to “external readers”) so I sat down and began searching on some of the keywords. “State Legitimacy” was first; then “Nation State”. Lots of results, lots of articles, including one particularly interesting piece on Cuba’s efforts to bolster State Legitimacy based on sports. As the abstract explains,
A crucial element of the legitimating discourse of the Cuban state, domestically and internationally, has been the relative success of its sports teams in international competition. As symbols of the strength of the state and one of the few remaining “successes” of the Revolution, Cuban sports performances remain vital symbolic capital for current and future administrations.