Lemay-Hebert, Nicolas (2011) Everyday legitimacy and international administration: governance, ‘legitimacy dilemma,’ and other possible avenues in Kosovo. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding. ISSN 1750-2977 (Submitted)
International administrations are a very specific form of statebuilding architecture. In the course of six months, the international community proceeded to create two international administrations encompassing legislative, judicial and executive power – in Kosovo and Timor-Leste in 1999. With a specific focus on Kosovo, this paper claims that the limits of this governance scheme lie in the very nature of the mandate. Placed in the situation of a de facto government of Kosovo, the international administration has to face the same requirements that any legitimate government has. Even more complicated was the fact that there were no check-and-balances included in the international framework, granting the international administration with full authority in terms of governance. International administrators found themselves in a ‘legitimacy dilemma:’ everything they do to reinforce their rule actually perpetuates their weakness. Its legitimacy waning, the state-building agenda put forth by the international administrations came to be seen as more exogenous, reinforcing the delegitimization process. This paper attempts to shed light on the specific issues of this governance scheme, while trying in turn to understand the limits of the orthodox conception of statebuilding. This paper will specifically address the influence of the Weberian approach to legitimacy on the statebuilding literature as well as its limits. It will also attempt to chart other possible avenues for statebuilding, more in line with a wider understanding of legitimacy and intervention.
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