Rethinking Legitimacy and International Institutions
This project departs from the observation that legitimacy has become important for international institutions but is also strongly contested. Far from constituting a ‘property’ of international institutions, legitimacy is performed and disputed through discursive practices. While international organizations seek legitimacy, states and other actors engage in dynamic processes of (de-)legitimation. Legitimacy talk is utilised as a tool for political contestation, but can also serve important mediating functions. Rethinking the legitimacy of international institutions needs to take into account two key dimensions: the meanings attached to concepts of legitimacy as they play out in political disputes, and its capacity for adaptation and change over time.