International Crises of Legitimacy

Christian Reus-Smit

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    What is an international crisis of legitimacy? And how does one resolve such crises? This article addresses these conceptual issues, laying the theoretical foundations for the special issue as a whole. An actor or institution experiences a crisis of legitimacy, it is argued, when the level of social recognition that its identity, interests, practices, norms, or procedures are rightful declines to the point where it must either adapt (by reconstituting or recalibrating the social bases of its legitimacy, or by investing more heavily in material practices of coercion or bribery) or face disempowerment. International crises of legitimacy can be resolved only through recalibration, which necessarily involves the communicative reconciliation of the actor's or institution's social identity, interests, practices, norms, or procedures, with the normative expectations of other actors within its realm of political action.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)157-174
    JournalInternational Politics: a journal of transnational issues and global problems
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    Dive into the research topics of 'International Crises of Legitimacy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this