Legitimating International Organizations

Editat de Dominik Zaum
en Limba Engleză Hardback – 26 sep 2013
The legitimacy of international and regional organizations and their actions is frequently asserted and challenged by states and commentators alike. Their authorisations or conduct of military interventions, their structures of decision-making, and their involvement into what states deem to be domestic matters have all raised questions of legitimacy. As international organizations lack the coercive powers of states, legitimacy is also considered central to their ability to attain compliance with their decisions. Despite the prominence of legitimacy talk around international organizations, little attention has been paid to the practices and processes through which such organizations and their member states justify the authority these organizations exercise - how they legitimise themselves both vis-à-vis their own members and external audiences. This book addresses this gap by comparing and evaluating the legitimation practices of a range of international and regional organizations. It examines the practices through which such organizations justify and communicate their legitimacy claims, and how these practices differ between organizations. In exploring the specific legitimation practices of international organizations, this book analyses the extent to which such practices are shaped by the structure of the different organizations, by the distinct normative environments within which they operate, and by the character of the audiences of their legitimacy claims. It also considers the implications of this analysis for global and regional governance.
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ISBN-13: 9780199672097
ISBN-10: 0199672091
Pagini: 272
Ilustrații: 1 Figure
Dimensiuni: 162 x 240 x 23 mm
Greutate: 0.56 kg
Editura: Oxford University Press
Colecția OUP Oxford
Locul publicării:Oxford, United Kingdom


This is a welcome volume - it gives a comprehensive examination of the intersection between international politics, institutions and legitimation. Conceptually, it addresses legitimacy and legitimation with nuance and care, and then applies them empirically to study a wide range of international institutions. That international organizations rely on and trade in legitimacy and legitimation is by now a truism. The contributors go beyond merely asserting that international organizations are involved in legitimation politics and instead provide detailed case studies that show how they do. Across an impressive range of institutions, they examine legitimation around real-world controversies in international institutions.
As the role of non-state actors (NGOs, new media, etc.) in influencing international relations has increased, the perceived legitimacy of international organizations has become a battle-ground. Even regional courts today criticize the decisions of the UN Security Council, whose remit in the UN Charter once seemed beyond challenge. Thus, while the legitimacy of international institutions today remains critical, in most cases it is in flux. Dominik Zaum and his highly qualified chapter authors do a terrific job of analysing the current state of play and suggesting strategies that international organizations would be wise to consider in seeking to buttress their credibility and to reinforce their sometimes faltering legitimacy. They play a key role in ordering international relations and in encouraging new forms of international cooperation. As citizens, we would be at much greater risk without them.

Notă biografică

Dominik Zaum is Reader in International Relations at the University of Reading, and a Senior Research Fellow in Conflict and Fragility at the UK's Department for International Development (DFID). His research focuses on the politics of international organisations, especially the UN, and on the political economy of international peace- and statebuilding efforts. His publications include The Sovereignty Paradox: The Norms and Politics of International Statebuilding (OUP, 2007), The United Nations Security Council and War: The Evolution of Thought and Practice Since 1945 (OUP, 2008), and Political Economy of Statebuilding: Power after Peace (Routledge, 2012).