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Title: The concept of legitimacy in international relations : lessons from Yugoslavia
Author: Williams, John
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1997
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The thesis builds a model of 'orthodox Western' legitimacy on the basis of the interaction of 'dominant paradigms' in Western thinking about the states-system, the state and the international economy. These are a Realist vision of the states-system, a liberal conception of the state and a free-market, economic liberal version of the international economy. The thesis therefore links the domestic, the international and the economic to overcome the narrow focus on institutions and procedures in legal accounts of international legitimacy and the lack of consideration of the international in domestic approaches. By treating legitimacy as a value judgement the thesis also shows up the failure of existing accounts to consider the competing and contradictory constraints on action established by the value systems tied up with dominant paradigms. Therefore, as well as allowing for judgements against institutional and procedural custom and practice, the model restores the normative content of legitimacy by rooting such judgements in consistency with underpinning value systems, introducing flexibility and prescriptive power. The model is tested and refined by an examination of the rise and fall of Yugoslavia between 1945 and 1992. This looks at the legitimation of Tito's political and economic system and the crisis it suffered during the 1980s. Despite the Western focus of the model it is shown to point towards important issues in the loss of legitimacy by Yugoslavia. In particular, reasons for the timing of its collapse and the bitterness of disputes over reform are shown to be rooted in fundamental disagreements about value systems as the basis for re-legitimising a post-communist country. In addition, there is a lengthy and detailed study of the efforts by the international community to manage the crisis between 1990 and the recognition of Bosnia in 1992. The value of the model in uncovering limitations on actions, explaining policy choices and allowing judgement is reaffirmed and lessons for theoretical refinements are drawn. The thesis is therefore an effort to critique and develop theoretical concepts whilst also subjecting them to serious empirical analysis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick. Dept. of Politics and International Studies
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JZ International relations