Institutional facts and principles of global political legitimacy
Source TitleJournal of International Political Theory
PublisherSAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD
University of Melbourne Author/sMacDonald, Terry
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMacdonald, T. (2016). Institutional facts and principles of global political legitimacy. JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL THEORY, 12 (2), pp.134-151. https://doi.org/10.1177/1755088216630995.
Access StatusOpen Access
ARC Grant codeARC/DP110103362
How should the content and justification of action-guiding normative ‘principles’ in political life be responsive to social ‘facts’? In this article, I answer this question by sketching a contextualist methodology for identifying and justifying principles for guiding international institutional action, which is based on an original account of the regulative role and conceptual structure of principles of political legitimacy. I develop my argument for this approach in three steps. First, I argue that a special non-utopian category of normative political principles has the regulatory role of helping solve collective action problems that emerge in practice among actors engaged in shared institutional projects. Next, I argue that analysis of such normative political principles can be helpfully framed by what I call a collective agency conception of political legitimacy. Finally, I draw out the implications of these claims to show how the content and justification of normative political principles should vary across institutional contexts, in response to a particular set of motivational and empirical social facts. This contextualist methodology has useful applications to international politics insofar it can help to account for the widespread intuition that standards of political legitimacy for institutions may vary both across domestic and international levels and among international institutions operating in different functional domains.
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