Legitimacy, along with security and democracy, is arguably one of the most widely used global buzzwords of the new millennium. Yet, the idea of political legitimacy is not new and has been constructed in different ways at different moments in history. This book problematizes this notion, from various contextual standpoints, disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. Taking a comparative, transnational and bottom-up approach to the study of political legitimacy, this book sheds light on multiple perceptions by different actors (institutions, civil society, majoritarian and minority subjects), analysing the notion of political legitimacy from a critical perspective. Questioning received wisdom or one-size-fits-all analyses, it leads to a reassessment of the link between legitimacy and sovereignty, and emphasises the demand by transnational civil society to go beyond identity politics, which produce logics of violence. This book was originally published as a special issue of Global Discourse.
Introduction 1. Debating Legitimacy Transnationally 2. Reply: Legitimacy and the shadows of universalism: a response to Meine’s ‘debating legitimacy transnationally" 3. The discursive (de)legitimisation of global governance: political contestation and the emergence of new actors in the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body 4. Reply: Political contestation and the emergence of new actors, but who governs? A response to Michael Strange 5. Resisting legitimacy: Weber, Derrida, and the fallibility of sovereign power 6. Reply: The sovereignty of sovereignty and the restricted object of critical IR 7. The evolving and interacting bases of EU environmental policy legitimacy 8. Reply: The evolving and interacting bases of EU environmental policy legitimacy: a reply to Brown 9. Do Catalans have ‘the right to decide’? Secession, legitimacy and democracy in twenty-first century Europe 10. Reply: Scotland, Catalonia and the ‘right’ to self-determination: a comment suggested by Kathryn Crameri’s ‘Do Catalans Have the "right to decide"?’ 11. Building authoritarian ‘legitimacy’: domestic compliance and international standing of Bashar al-Asad’s Syria 12. Reply: Reply to ‘Building authoritarian "legitimacy": domestic compliance and international standing of Bashar al-Asad’s Syria’ by Aurora Sottimano Mathieu Rey13. Looking for a new legitimacy: internal challenges within the Israeli Left 14. Reply: The Israeli Left: Part of the problem or the Solution? 15. Body Politics and Legitimacy. Towards a Feminist Epistemology of the Egyptian Revolution 16. Reply: De-orientalizing sexual violence and gender discrimination in Egypt 17. Women’s human rights and Tunisian upheavals: is ‘democracy’ enough? 18. Reply: A reply to ‘Women’s human rights and Tunisian upheavals: is "democracy" enough?’ by Bronwyn Winter