(report) ECPR Joint Sessions Workshop “Legitimacy in Global Governance: Elite Communication, Populist Rhetoric, and (De-)legitimation Practices”

Co-sponsored by the ECPR Standing Groups on Political Communication and Political Methodology, the workshop on Legitimacy in Global Governance intended to bring together researchers from different backgrounds: Research on populism, blame-shifting, political communication, as well as international authority and legitimacy attitudes. In doing so, the workshop directors, Lisa Dellmuth and Bernd Schlipphak, have sought to push forward comparative politics and International Relations research on how to measure and explain the legitimacy of global governance institutions (GGIs). This agenda is developed in detail in a recent article published in the Research Agenda section of the Journal of European Public Policy (Dellmuth and Schlipphak 2019).

In the eyes of participants and directors alike, the workshop was a great success. The papers spoke well to each together, allowing for a coherent but sufficiently diverse workshop and constructive and lively debates. Paper topics included citizens’ attitudes toward international actors (Ghassim, Huber, Meiners, Neuner, Verhaegen), media coverage, and self-legitimation strategies of GGIs (Ecker-Ehrhardt, Lie, Parizek, Solgada). Others focused on the politicization of GGIs (Kreuder-Sonnen, Schaffer) and the consequences of a lack of legitimacy of GGIs (Agne, Lenz, Sommerer).

Three main lines of debates emerged. The first one revolved around the effects of the legitimacy of and the (de)legitimation of GGIs – under what conditions are higher levels of legitimacy always positive for the effectiveness and efficiency of actors? A second recurrent theme concentrated on the audiences toward which international actors need to be legitimate – why do we need to analyze the attitudes and communication of actors that are not affected by the rule of an international or regional organization? Third, it was debated,how can we disentangle the concepts of legitimacy and (different dimensions of) authority –what do different conceptions of legitimacy and authority imply for the measurement of legitimacy and (de)legitimation processes?

As workshop directors, we are looking forward to further participate in this stimulating research program and work together with the outstanding colleagues that made this workshop a great experience.


Dellmuth, Lisa and Schlipphak, Bernd (2019). Legitimacy Beliefs toward Global Governance Institutions: A Research Agenda. Journal of European Public Policy, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2019.1604788.

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