Sarah von Billerbeck | 2017

UN Peace Operations and Conflicting Legitimacies

in: Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 11:3, 286-305

Analyses of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping increasingly consider legitimacy a key factor for success, conceiving of it as a resource that operations should seek and use in the pursuit of their goals. However, these analyses rarely break down legitimacy by source. Because the UN is an organization with multiple identities and duties however, different legitimacy sources – in particular output and procedural legitimacy – and the UN’s corresponding legitimation practices come into conflict in the context of peacekeeping.

Drawing on a range of examples and the specific case of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), this article argues that looking at different legitimacy sources and linking them to the institutional identity of the UN is thus critical, and it shows how the UN’s contradictory legitimation practices can reduce overall legitimacy perceptions.

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