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Sources of Legitimacy in Global Governance

https://doi.org/10.23932/2542-0240-2019-12-3-47-76

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Abstract

This article explores how, in the quest for new global order, global governance might acquire greater sociological legitimacy. What are the sources of legitimacy in global governance? In other words, what conditions generate confidence and trust in global-scale authorities? To explore this question, the article first elaborates on the general concept of legitimacy as it relates to global regulation. Thereafter the discussion considers, under three main headings, a broad range of possible drivers of legitimacy beliefs vis-à-vis global governance. First, some of these sources are institutional, relating to features of the global regulatory organisations, such as their procedural inputs and their performance outputs. Second, other sources of legitimacy are individual, relating to the characteristics of the subjects of global governance, such as their identity orientations and their levels of social trust. Third, further sources of legitimacy in global governance are societal, relating to the general ordering patterns of world politics, such as prevailing norms, capitalism, and a hegemonic state. The article concludes by urging that researchers break from past habits of treating institutional, individual and societal sources of legitimacy separately and in isolation from each other. Instead, legitimacy in global governance can be more fully understood – and more effectively promoted in practice – if one examines these various forces together, and in terms of their mutual constitution.

About the Author

J. A. Scholte
University of Sussex, University of Gothenburg, Centre for Global Cooperation Research University of Duisburg-Essen
United Kingdom

DPhil; Professor of Peace and Development, School of Global Studies; Co-Director 

Brighton BN1 9RH, United Kingdom

Box 700, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden

Schifferstraße 44, 47059 Duisburg, Germany



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Scholte J.A. Sources of Legitimacy in Global Governance. Outlines of global transformations: politics, economics, law. 2019;12(3):47-76. https://doi.org/10.23932/2542-0240-2019-12-3-47-76

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