Rhetorical Legitimation: Global Scripts as Strategic Devices of International Organizations

45 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2011  

Terence C. Halliday

American Bar Foundation

Susan Block-Lieb

Fordham University School of Law

Bruce G. Carruthers

Northwestern University

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Date Written: September 20, 2009

Abstract

This paper focuses on a largely neglected aspect of legitimation in international organizations (IOs) - the rhetorical work done by IO scripts as a legitimation strategy of IOs. Based on extensive fieldwork and research from the mid-1990s to 2005 on regional and global IOs, we show that global norms for corporate bankruptcy law employ rhetorical devices in four respects. First, the normative texts produced by IOs draw upon a finite repertoire of rhetorical devices (a) to propagate legitimation warrants an IO wants visibly disseminated, (b) to amplify or compensate for IO warrants that may be weak; and (c) to articulate formal rhetorical devices that carry their own warrants of legitimation. Second, configurations of rhetorical devices in IO texts are affected by temporal contexts, such as exogenous shocks and the historical sequencing of IO norm production. Third, the negotiation of relations of IO interdependency, including competition and cooperation, are partly signaled and managed through the rhetorical constructions of respective IO products. Fourth, texts have their own properties, formal and substantive, that are crafted to be substantially self-validating.

Suggested Citation

Halliday, Terence C. and Block-Lieb, Susan and Carruthers, Bruce G., Rhetorical Legitimation: Global Scripts as Strategic Devices of International Organizations (September 20, 2009). Center on Law and Globalization Research Paper No. 09-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1476370 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1476370

Terence C. Halliday (Contact Author)

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Susan Block-Lieb

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
(212) 636-6782 (Phone)
(212) 636-6899 (Fax)

Bruce G. Carruthers

Northwestern University ( email )

1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-467-1251 (Phone)

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