The Legitimacy and Legitimation of International Organizations: Introduction and Framework

Review of International Organizations

50 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2017 Last revised: 16 Jan 2019

See all articles by Jonas Tallberg

Jonas Tallberg

Stockholm University - Department of Political Science

Michael Zürn

Independent

Date Written: January 5, 2019

Abstract

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 advance the empirical study of legitimacy and legitimation in global governance. It engages with the question of when, how, and why international organizations (IOs) gain, sustain, and lose legitimacy in world politics. 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 discuss 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, preview the articles of the special issue, and chart next steps for this research agenda.

Keywords: Legitimacy; Legitimation; International Organization; International Institution; Public Opinion

Suggested Citation

Tallberg, Jonas and Zürn, Michael, The Legitimacy and Legitimation of International Organizations: Introduction and Framework (January 5, 2019). Review of International Organizations. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3060204 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3060204

Jonas Tallberg (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

Michael Zürn

Independent

No Address Available

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