Conceptualizing the Legitimacy of Using Force

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:54
Oral Presentation
Yagil LEVY, Open University of Israel, Israel
The question of what constitutes the legitimacy of using force targeting an external adversary, has become especially relevant since the wars that followed the 9/11 events and the post-Cold War’s interventions in human crises. However, international relations is the main field in which this issue is discussed while political scientists tend to mix legitimacy with supportive public opinion. This paper is conceptually motivated. It begins by defining the concept of the legitimacy of using force. It then analyzes the two components of this legitimacy: the first represents the constant, socially constructed component, and the second is a dynamic component, on which the paper focuses. It is constituted by several mutually related variables which are critical for increasing or decreasing the constant component of this legitimacy and can be circumstantially and contextually used by leaders to mobilize support. The variables are grouped into three categories (with mixtures among them): 1) legal and policy variables, 2) cultural and discursive variables and 3) structural variables.