To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Chapter 8 articulates a conception of culture, and examines competition as a system of beliefs and practices legitimating the social order. I emphasise the prominent roles of science, games, and sports in formalising and naturalising competition in daily life, thereby legitimating distributions of social power. I push this argument about legitimation further by exploring competition as a form of ritual. While we often think of the modern period as one in which the role of ritual has weakened in social life, domesticated competition in its myriad forms exhibits many of the core features of ritual, such as liturgical form, specialist practitioners, and dramatization of the social order. Understood this way, the systematisation of competition in modern liberal societies suggests a society still legitimated by ritual, albeit of a secular form.
This chapter summarizes the empirical findings of the book and outlines its broader implications for our understanding of politics. It reviews evidence in the book showing that elite communication affects the way citizens perceive of the legitimacy of IOs. When elites endorse or criticize international organizations in public, citizens take notice and adjust their opinions. In addition, it concludes that elites are more likely to shape citizen opinion toward international organizations under some conditions than others. Key moderating factors pertain to all three key components of the communicative context: elites, messages, and citizens. The chapter then discusses the broader implications of the book for current debates in four areas: legitimacy and legitimation, drivers of public opinion, elite influence and democracy, and the contemporary backlash against global governance.
This chapter explores the conditions under which global elites are influential in shaping citizens’ legitimacy beliefs toward global governance. It distinguishes between member governments, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations as three sets of global elites, evaluates whether these elites impact legitimacy beliefs through their communication, and identifies the conditions under which such communication is more successful. The chapter examines theoretical expectations comparatively across five prominent global or regional international organizations, including the European Union, International Monetary Fund, and United Nations. At the heart of the empirical investigation is a survey-embedded experiment in three countries (Germany, the UK, and the US). The analysis shows that communication by more credible elites (member governments and NGOs) has stronger effects on citizens’ legitimacy perceptions than communication by less credible elites (international organizations themselves).
This chapter focuses on domestic elites and examines the conditions under which political parties influence public perceptions of international organization legitimacy. While it is well-known that political parties are powerful communicators about domestic political matters, less is known about the effects of party cues on global political issues. The chapter explores this topic based on two survey experiments on party communication regarding two international organizations (North Atlantic Treaty Organization and United Nations). The experiments are embedded in surveys conducted in two countries (Germany and the US), which vary in the degree of political polarization. The chapter finds that party cues tend to shape legitimacy beliefs toward NATO and the UN in the highly polarized US setting, while few effects are detected in the less polarized German context.
This chapter focuses on the reconfiguration of land tenure and authority in Marovo Lagoon, a rural area subject to widespread and destructive industrial logging. Women as a social group are known to be largely excluded from formal negotiations regarding logging, and this chapter considers the extent to which this can be traced to a flawed legislative framework, to patriarchal kastom or the erosion of women’s rights by colonisation. Drawing on archival and ethnographic work, it demonstrates that missionaries and colonial officials recognised some idealisations of masculine authority while disregarding other forms of influence, facilitating a simplification of the land tenure system that has enabled some male leaders to consolidate their control over resources. The reproduction of particular idealisations of masculine authority over land continues today, and simultaneously constitutes land control as a masculine domain. While contemporary inequalities can be partially traced to the structural features of the property system, they also emerge from long-term processes of colonial intrusion, capitalist development and the erosion of important aspects of gendered attachments to land.
This chapter sets the stage for the book by providing an empirical overview of citizen legitimacy beliefs, elite legitimacy beliefs, and elite communication in global governance. It shows that citizen legitimacy beliefs vary across countries, international organizations, and over time, but that there is no secular decline in international organization legitimacy in the eyes of citizens. It further demonstrates that elites are divided in their legitimacy beliefs, but that they on average moderately support international organizations. Elite communication in global governance tends to be negative in tone in the context of the international organizations studied, but also involves a broadening of narratives about international organizations and a pattern of fluctuations over time.
This chapter outlines the key paradox motiving the book: while world politics features growing elite contestation over international organizations, we know little about the effects of such communication on citizens legitimacy beliefs toward global governance. The chapter explains the theoretical, empirical, and methodological contributions of the book, and outlines its core argument and findings in brief. It motivates the survey-experimental and comparative research design developed to study elite communication effects on legitimacy beliefs in this book. By providing a review of previous research on legitimacy, legitimation, public opinion, and elite influence, this introductory chapter relates to some of the most important debates in contemporary international relations research.
This chapter examines whether and to what extent information about the procedures and performances of international organizations affects citizens legitimacy beliefs. It examines this issue comparatively across seven international organizations in different issue areas, including the African Union, European Union, United Nations Security Council, and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The survey is conducted in four countries in diverse world regions (Germany, the Philippines, South Africa, and the US). The analysis shows that information about both procedures and performances impact legitimacy beliefs. Moreover, citizens update their legitimacy beliefs in line with information about democracy, effectiveness, and fairness in global governance.
This chapter examines how information on the authority and purpose of international organizations influences citizen legitimacy beliefs toward global governance. Advancing on previous research that primarily has studied effects of procedures and performances on citizens legitimacy beliefs, this chapter uses a conjoint experimental design to assess how different institutional qualities matter when simultaneously communicated to citizens. The chapter explores this issue across hypothetical international organizations in two countries (Germany and the US). It finds that citizens form legitimacy beliefs in line with information about authority and purpose in international organizations. However, this relationship depends on citizens’ political priors. Information about an international organization’s authority has a weaker negative effect on legitimacy beliefs among internationalist citizens. Moreover, the effect of information about an international organization’s social purpose depends on citizens’ political values. These conditioning effects are only found in the more polarized context of the US and not in Germany.
Once staunch advocates of international cooperation, political elites are increasingly divided over the merits of global governance. Populist leaders attack international organizations for undermining national democracy, while mainstream politicians defend their importance for solving transboundary problems. Bridging international relations, comparative politics, and cognitive psychology, Lisa Dellmuth and Jonas Tallberg explore whether, when, and why elite communication shapes the popular legitimacy of international organizations. Based on novel theory, experimental methods, and comparative evidence, they show that elites are influential in shaping how citizens perceive global governance and explain why some elites and messages are more effective than others. The book offers fresh insights into major issues of our day, such as the rise of populism, the power of communication, the backlash against global governance, and the relationship between citizens and elites. It will be of interest to scholars and students of international organisations, and experimental and survey research methods.
This chapter explores the use of clichés as argumentative strategies in online reception of political news items. It conceptualises clichés as strategies that draw on conventionalised inferable premises that warrant conclusion and link the argument with a claim, also known as topoi. Drawing on online commentaries in response to the same item of Brexit news across The Guardian, the Daily Mail and BBC News, the chapter explains how clichés as topoi operate as strategies to legitimise a position and to other members of a perceived out-group thereby allowing participatory media users to construe ideational and interpersonal meanings in the argumentation process.
This article explains the political significance of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia, the quasi-youth wing of the ruling Cambodian People's Party in Cambodia. I argue that pro-regime events organized by the youth wing are a form of state mobilization designed to help the ruling party pre-empt the threat posed by the country's growing youth population. In doing so, the youth wing draws upon the monarchy, culture, and nationalism to regenerate the ruling party's legitimacy claims to make them more appealing to the target group. The article contributes to our knowledge of how authoritarian regimes mobilize citizens to maintain power.
Legitimation is spatialized, in its invocation and reproduction of hierarchies as well as the claiming of particular domains. This chapter examines two spatialized practices: extensity as the projection of scale and depth, and territoriality as the demarcation of boundaries of inclusion and exclusion. It looks firstly at lateral legitimation across Bagamoyo district in these spatialized forms. While extensity is the predominant dynamic in this field, mimicking the architecture of the Tanzanian state, there are also territorial practices, especially when angled downward to the hallowed ‘community’. Second, the chapter examines NGO extensity at the outreaches of Bagamoyo’s ‘sovereign borders’ in underserved Kibindu, where developmental activity was solicited and there proved considerable ‘space to govern’. In this context, territoriality fell away as a basis for legitimation and instead Bagamoyo’s most extensive NGO served to ‘co-produce’ the state. However, the situation was strongly reversed in urbanizing Kiharaka, wherein NGO territoriality through explicit practices of inclusion and exclusion found traction. In the divergent contexts of Kibindu and Kiharaka, extensity and territoriality therefore proved to be competing forms of spatial power.
The book opens with the provocation that empirical legitimacy not only remains poorly evinced, it is in its current formulations irredeemably so. As long as legitimacy studies remain locked in the politics of crisis, of repairing deficits to a Western ‘preconcept’, the everyday crafting of authority will remain overlooked. The chapter looks to the expanding non-state, specifically non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to paint a picture of productivity, cautious expansion and cumulative change rather than that of deficit, crisis or threat. It asks how NGOs craft their everyday authority to act in coastal Tanzania, far from the air-conditioned rooms that normally denote the international sphere. In doing so, it abandons the residual state-centrism and positivism that still characterize legitimacy studies. World politics must gravitate away from an insular, at times recursive, focus on Western normative templates towards understanding global phenomena as locally articulated. The introductory chapter also provides a synopsis of the Tanzanian case, of the legitimation practices themselves and an overview of the book.
Voluntarism, and its associated virtue, has long been a legitimation device in the construction of public authority. It has been theorized, at least in Western political philosophy, as a counterweight to the excesses of big government or big business. In some studies in Africa, voluntarism has been married to instrumentalist accounts of doing politics. This chapter highlights the nuanced complexities in invoking voluntarism, its ideational and material components, and the multifaceted opportunities and obligations it affords. It demonstrates continuity between government and non-government around the production of this form of authority. However, legitimation is a practice negotiated by its ‘publics’. In this case, this comprises volunteers who must negotiate the vertical, often extractive pressures from external actors of their physical and emotional labours as well as lateral contestation by peers of their own authority to act in the interests of Others. This chapter explores the material and ideational legitimation that volunteer networks afford non-governmental organizations as well as the negotiation and contestation of voluntarism’s work on the part of volunteers themselves.
Legitimacy studies, even those more sociologically attuned, remain committed to ascertaining the presence or absence of legitimacy. What appears to embrace fluidity, iteration and hybridity ultimately proves static in its binary yes/no conception. This book’s intent was to embrace the multiplicity, multivalency and making of legitimation in postcolonial contexts. Each non-governmental organization (NGO) intervention is legitimated iteratively; a static belief in the legitimacy of an NGO, or of NGOs in general, has no meaning. Furthermore, legitimation practices are mutually constitutive even when placed in opposition to each other. At that moment in Tanzania, in the wake of peak liberalization, this book mapped two nexuses of legitimation practice: territoriality/representation/materiality and state/extensity/voluntarism, playing out to different effect in different circumstances. Each nexus is transitory, subject to cumulative change and reconfiguration over time. Given this, the informal legitimation practices so-honed by NGOs in tight spaces will prove critical to non/state survival and its cautious expansion in Tanzania and beyond. This chapter thus lastly comments on prospects for broader non/state legitimation within authoritarian capitalist futures.
This chapter lays down the theoretical groundwork for reconceptualizing legitimation as practice over legitimacy as a stable state, integrating three theoretical developments. The first of these, specifically on the topic of legitimacy, is a movement away from normative towards empirical enquiry. The chapter builds on recent, millennial attempts to do so but adds a long overdue interrogation of legitimacy’s leftover Western centrisms. The second development is a movement away from the state as the primary locus regarding legitimation. There has been a concordance across disciplines that public authority is not limited to, nor contained by, the state. New, hybrid forms of authority, straddling public and private, local and global, state and society, encapsulate what the book terms non/state governance, within which state and non-state actors are enmeshed. The third development is the burgeoning field of practice-based enquiry, whereby methodological space has opened up in all relevant disciplines to spotlight the practices through which power is exercised and its conditions (re)produced. There has been a productive concordance around practice as ‘fertile’ ground for a range of disciplines in the West but also for eminent scholars in Africa who foreground the multiplicity of the normally minimised African subject, who negotiates structures of coloniality within everyday life.
Legitimation via the representative claim is existentially critical for non-governmental organisations in the absence of meaningful consent or authorization. The need to so compensate is manifest in iterative claims to be ‘one of the people’, to be close to the people and ultimately to stand for the people, challenging state representative monopolies that have unravelled in Tanzania, as elsewhere. Claims to stand for the people, however, are fleeting and give way to the conclusive need to act for the people when situations of uncertainty and of perceived failure solicit a more authoritative stance. This chapter expounds the hybridity of contemporary representational practice, whereby state and non-state actors continually reconcile claims to stand and to act for Others. In doing so, it uniquely identifies a productive confluence in mainstream representation theory and long-established anti/postcolonial writings in understanding representational multivalency and making today, disrupting default notions of representation in the West.
With personal information an overt ‘site of struggle’ in contemporary politics, how do non-state actors gather data but also craft their authority to do so? This chapter shifts the site of Informational Relations spatially, away from the lofty ‘international’, as well as temporally, to earlier in this chain of events. The authority of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to gather data is often treated as antecedent, but collecting Others’ information and acting as repositories are themselves invocations of authority. While a key driver of this book has been the importance of ideas in crafting everyday authority, legitimation’s material consequences are highly conspicuous in this process of gathering information: it is a core NGO ‘currency’. This chapter focuses on the collection of data, whereby the authority of NGOs is instantiated through acts of monitoring and verification, both laterally with respect to peers and vertically to communities. It pits NGO against NGO; NGO against local government; village volunteers against their leaders and peers. NGOs thus find themselves enmeshed within a complex informational ecosystem that is truly global. Given the clear fungibility of information, the gathering of data proved one of the most contentious legitimation practices.
One of the starkest legitimation practices lies in how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) positioned themselves vis-à-vis the organs of the state and vice versa. There is no more enduring division in political science than that posited between ‘state’ and ‘society’: a divide that is blurred in practice but remains ideationally pertinent in Tanzania’s political landscape. NGOs work the state–society ideational divide and garner capital from both. This chapter maps the use of state relations but also ‘state-like practices’ by Bagamoyo’s two international NGOs. One was heavily aligned with government practices to the point of mimicry and indeed co-extended with and co-produced the state. This worked to great effect in some cases and to abject failure in others. The other international NGO, by contrast, was increasingly distant from and antagonistic to local and national government, meaning its fortunes were precisely reversed. In both cases, however, positionalities were not fixed. Both NGOs varied their stances towards local government when expedient, highlighting how legitimation is continually recalibrated. Positionality vis-à-vis the state is thus fluid and ambiguous but remains strategic and deliberately visible, in crafting the space to govern.