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Klaus Dingwerth, Antonia Witt, Ina Lehmann, Ellen Reichel and Tobias Weise: International Organisations under Pressure: Legitimating Global Governance in Challenging Times


The book reconstructs how the normative yardsticks that underpin
evaluations of international organizations have changed since 1970. Based
on in-depth case studies of normative change in five international
organizations over a period of five decades, the authors argue that, these
days, international organizations confront a longer and more
heterogeneous list of normative expectations than in previous periods. Two
changes are particularly noteworthy. First, international organizations need
to demonstrate not only what they do for their member states, but also for
the individuals in member states. Second, while international organizations
continue to be evaluated in terms of what they achieve, they are
increasingly also measured by how they operate. As the case studies reveal,
the more pluralist patchwork of legitimacy principles today’s international
organizations confront has multiple origins. It includes the politicization of
expanding international authority, but also a range of other driving forces
such as individual leadership or normative path dependence. Despite
variation in the sources, however, the consequences of the normative shift
are similar. Notably, a longer and more heterogenous list of normative
expectations renders the legitimation of international organizations more
complex. Strikingly, then, at a time when many feel international
cooperation is needed more than ever, legitimating the forms in which such
cooperation takes place has become most difficult. International
organizations have come under pressure.

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Author Biography

Ondřej Svoboda

Ondřej Svoboda, PhD, works at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech
Republic. In addition, he is involved in research and teaching at the
Department of International Law, the Faculty of Law of Charles University,
where he focuses on international economic law and EU trade and
investment policy.