(Self-)Legitimation of International Organizations in Disruptive Times
International organizations (IOs) continue to stand out as the most durable and authoritative forms of international governance, and many of them render binding decisions in the expectation of obedience – that is, they hold political authority. Legitimacy is critical for any political organization because it lowers the cost of rule and enhances the likelihood of compliance. It is particularly important for IOs because they generally lack coercive enforcement mechanisms and are constantly confronted with the potential for utility losses. Given the importance of legitimacy for political rule, Max Weber expected that any political system would seek “to cultivate the belief in its legitimacy” through strategic acts of legitimation.
Our workshop discussed the shifting terrain on which the (self-)legitimation of IOs takes place in disruptive times and, to this end, gathered scholars that study the practices, processes and politics of IO (self-)legitimation in a changing political context. The workshop brought together 36 scholars from around the world and featured 22 papers with cutting-edge research. These papers were presented and discussed by experts in the field over seven thematically different sessions. Thanks to the great commitment of the participants, those sessions sparked fruitful and constructive exchanges.