Legitimitet i internationella relationer? : En analys av Irakkrigets påverkan av FN som legitimitetskälla
Abstract (Summary)The aim of this paper is to clarify the up till now somewhat shady definition of legitimacy, and to investigate what happens to this concept when it is transferred from the boundaries of the nation state to the realms of the international arena. By creating a model of legitimacy from which an institution can be evaluated, the purpose of this paper is to investigate what legitimacy is and how important it is for the actors within the international society. The next step involves evaluating what makes the UN a legitimate institution and how its foundation is affected by the blatant disregard of its authority by one of its’ most influential members.The theoretical framework consists of a summary of what contemporary analysts’ views of legitimacy are, which I have incorporated into my own institutional model of legitimacy. The role of institutions is central to all aspects of this study. The study has its point of departure in new institutionalism as a theoretical approach, which entails that I assume institutions to be a vital and necessary part of international relations. In my opinion they play a crucial role in shaping and constraining actors’ behaviour and actions. The paper has one theoretical and one empirical purpose; the theoretical is to analyse the meaning and importance of legitimacy while the empirical is to investigate how and if the foundation for legitimacy within the UN has been damaged by the event following the US decision to invade Iraq. The analysis of both the theoretical and the empirical part of this paper will rest upon a model of my own design, developed from first and foremost David Beethams conclusions about the concept of legitimacy. Like Beetham I initiate the study with the well known and largely accepted Weberian definition of legitimacy.The main conclusions from the study are that once an institution is established, it takes on a life of its own, and is very hard to discredit or undo. As in the case of the UN, even such prominent members as the USA and the UK have instead of damaged the foundations, of which the UN legitimacy rests, severely injured their own reputation and credibility on the international arena.
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:04/08/2008