The aim of this article is to contribute to the literature on legitimacy by investigating its material and visual dimensions. By drawing on studies on rhetoric as a means of composing visions of social order and on an historical analysis of accounts in three paradigmatic eras (Roman times,Renaissance and Modernity), it shows how symmetry in accounts constituted an aesthetic code which tied members of a community together in ‘socie-ties’. We investigate the rhetorical process of ratiocinatio and explore how the visual and material dimensions of accounts provided social actors with an opportunity to explore their positions and ties within a community. This process augmented social actors’ understanding of their current relations by reducing them to a series of entries into an account, thus allowing them to reflect on what it meant to be a legitimate member of a society.
|Early online date||13 Apr 2018|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jun 2018|