The Legitimacy and Legitimation of International Organizations: Introduction and Framework
62 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2017
Date Written: February 9, 2017
While legitimacy dynamics are paramount in global governance, they have been insufficiently recognized, conceptualized, and explained in standard accounts of international cooperation. This special issue aims to spearhead the empirical study of legitimacy and legitimation in global governance. It addresses the overarching question of when, how, and why international organizations (IOs) gain, sustain, and lose legitimacy in world politics. It engages with this question comparatively, mapping and explaining patterns in legitimacy and legitimation across multiple dimensions. In this introduction, we first conceptualize legitimacy as the belief that an IO’s authority is appropriately exercised, and legitimation and delegitimation as processes of justification and contestation intended to shape such beliefs. We then theorize sources of variation in legitimation processes and legitimacy beliefs, with a particular focus on the authority, procedures, and performances of IOs. Finally, we describe the methods used to empirically study legitimacy and legitimation, and preview the articles of the special issue in the context of the broader research problems they address.
Keywords: Legitimacy; Legitimation; International Organization; International Institution; Public Opinion
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation