Skip to main content
×
×
Home

From constitutional rule to loosely coupled spheres of liquid authority: a reflexive approach

  • Michael Zürn (a1)
Abstract

This article develops a reason-based social foundation of new forms of authority, which often are liquid and sectorally limited. The recognition of authority hinges, in this view, on reflexive actors who are aware of their own limits of rationality regarding the lack of either information or a perspective that allows for the pursuit of common goods. In such a reflexive concept of authority, authority takers tend to monitor the authorities closely, and the internalization of the subordinate role is not a necessary part of it. Reflexive authority is embedded in the acceptance of a knowledge order that reproduces the authority relationship. In spite of a tendency toward institutionalization, reflexive authority often comes in a liquid state of aggregation, and almost always with a restricted functional scope. Moreover, this new set-up of authority creates social dynamics that add to liquidity. First, the encompassing constitutionalized rule with majoritarian decision making as major source of legitimacy is increasingly undermined by loosely coupled spheres of specialized authorities, which are most often justified on the basis of expertise. We can observe both the rise of international authorities in the absence of coordination between them, and the rise of similar authorities within the nation state that escape control of the democratic core institutions. As a result, authority gets fragmented and different authorities need to adjust to each other. The second implication of the argument is that democratic legitimation narratives become rare, leading to an ongoing legitimatory contestation of authorities. Both these processes make authority even more liquid.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      From constitutional rule to loosely coupled spheres of liquid authority: a reflexive approach
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      From constitutional rule to loosely coupled spheres of liquid authority: a reflexive approach
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      From constitutional rule to loosely coupled spheres of liquid authority: a reflexive approach
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
E-mail: michael.zuern@wzb.eu
References
Hide All
Ackerman, Bruce. 2000. “The New Separation of Powers.” Harvard Law Review 113(3):633. https://doi.org/10.2307/1342286.
Adler, Emanuel, and Pouliot, Vincent, eds. 2011. International Practices. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Alter, Karen J. 2011. “The Evolving International Judiciary.” The Annual Review of Law and Social Science 7:387415.
Anghie, Antony. 2007. Imperialism, Sovereignty, and the Making of International Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Arendt, Hannah. 1957. “Was ist Autorität?” In Fragwürdige Traditionsbestände im Politischen Denken der Gegenwart. Vier Essays, edited by Hannah Arendt, 117168. Frankfurt am Main: Europäische Verlagsanstalt.
Arendt, Hannah. 1970. On Violence. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World.
Ashley, Richard K. 1988. “Untying the Sovereign State: A Double Reading of the Anarchy Problematique.” Millennium 17(2):227262. https://doi.org/10.1177/03058298880170020901.
Beck, Silke. 2012. “From Trust to Trust: Lessons Learned from ‘Climategate’.” In Environmental Governance: The Challenge of Legitimacy and Effectiveness, edited by Karl Hogl, Eva Kvarda, Ralf Nordbeck, and Michael Pregernig, 220241. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Benvenisti, Eyal, and Downs, George W.. 2009. “National Courts, Domestic Democracy, and the Evolution of International Law.” European Journal of International Law 20(1):5972. https://doi.org/10.1093/ejil/chp004.
Black, Julia. this issue. “‘Says Who?’ Liquid Authority and Interpretive Control in Transnational Regulatory Regimes.” International Theory 9.
Blake, Daniel, and Payton, Autumn. 2008. ‘Voting Rules in International Organizations: Reflections of Power or Facilitators of Cooperation?’ ISA’s 49th Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA, 2008.
Bogdandy, Armin von, and Venzke, Ingo. 2014. In wessen Namen? Internationale Gerichte in Zeiten globalen Regierens, Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft 2088. Berlin: Suhrkamp.
Bogdandy, Armin von, Goldmann, Matthias, and Venzke, Ingo. 2015. “From Public International to International Public Law: Translating World Public Opinion into International Public Authority.” SSRN Journal 2015:138. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2662391.
Borchardt, Knut, Hanke, Edith, and Schluchter, Wolfgang, eds. 2013. Max Weber Gesamtausgabe I/23. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft: Soziologie. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
Breitmeier, Helmut, Young, Oran R., and Zürn, Michael. 2006. Analyzing International Environmental Regimes. From Case Study to Database. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Buchanan, Allen, and Keohane, Robert O.. 2006. “The Legitimacy of Global Governance Institutions.” Ethics & International Affairs 20(4):405437.
Büthe, Tim, and Mattli, Walter. 2011. The New Global Rulers: The Privatization of Regulation in the World Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Cukierman, Alex. 2008. “Central Bank Independence and Monetary Policymaking Institutions – Past, Present and Future.” European Journal of Political Economy 24(4):722736.
Dahl, Robert A. 1989. Democracy and its Critics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Davis, Kevin E., Fischer, Angelina, Kingsbury, Benedict, and Merry, Sally Engle, eds. 2012. Governance by Indicators: Global Power Through Classifications and Rankings. New York: Oxford University Press.
Enoch, David. 2014. “Authority and Reason-Giving 1.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89(2):296332. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1933-1592.2012.00610.x.
Eschenburg, Theodor. 1976. Über Autorität. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Foucault, Michel. 1980. Power/Knowledge. A Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972–77. New York: Pantheon Books.
Fraser, Nancy. 2009. Scales of Justice: Reimagining Political Space in a Globalizing World. New York: Columbia University Press.
Furedi, Frank. 2013. Authority: A Sociological History. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Furia, Peter A. 2005. “Global Citizenship, Anyone? Cosmopolitanism, Privilege and Public Opinion.” Global Society 19(4):331359.
Gehring, Thomas, and Faude, Benjamin. 2013. “The Dynamics of Regime Complexes: Microfoundations and Systemic Effects.” Global Governance 19(1):119130. https://doi.org/10.5555/1075-2846-19.1.119.
Haas, Ernst B. 1983. “Regime Decay: Conflict Management and International Organizations, 1945–1981.” International Organization 37(2):189256.
Habermas, Jürgen. 1994. Faktizität und Geltung. Beiträge zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des demokratischen Rechtsstaats 4. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Hawkins, Darren G., Lake, David A., Nielson, Daniel L., and Tierney, Michael J., eds. 2006. Delegation and Agency in International Organizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hirschl, Ran. 2004. Towards Juristocracy: The Origins and Consequences of the New Constitutionalism. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
Horkheimer, Max. 1987 [1936]. “Allgemeiner Teil.” In Studien über Autorität und Familie, 2nd ed., edited by Max Horkheimer, 376. Lüneburg: Dietrich zu Klampen Verlag.
Hurd, Ian. 2008. After Anarchy: Legitimacy and Power in the United Nations Security Council. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Jordana, Jacint, Levi-Faur, David, and i Marin, Xaver F.. 2011. “The Global Diffusion of Regulatory Agencies: Channels of Transfer and Stages of Diffusion.” Comparative Political Studies 44(10):13431369. https://doi.org/10.1177/0010414011407466.
Keane, John. 2009. Life and Death of Democracy. London: Simon & Schuster.
Keohane, Robert O., and Victor, David G.. 2011. “The Regime Complex for Climate Change.” Perspectives on Politics 9(1):723. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1537592710004068.
Krisch, Nico. this issue. “Liquid Authority in Global Governance.” International Theory 9.
Lake, David A. 2009. Hierarchy in International Relations. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Lake, David A. 2010. “Rightful Rules: Authority, Order, and the Foundations of Global Governance.” International Studies Quarterly 54(3):587613.
Legg, Andrew. 2012. The Margin of Appreciation in International Human Rights Law: Deference and Proportionality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lenz, Tobias, Bezuijen, Jeanine, Hooghe, Liesbet, and Marks, Gary. 2015. “Patterns of International Authority: Task Specific vs. General Purpose.” In Internationale Organisationen: Autonomie, Politisierung, interorganisationale Beziehungen und Wandel (Sonderheft 49 der Politischen Vierteljahresschrift), edited by Eugénia da Conceição-Heldt, Martin Koch, and Andrea Liese. Baden-Baden: Nomos.
Macdonald, Kate, and Macdonald, Terry. this issue. “Liquid Authority and Political Legitimacy in Transnational Governance.” International Theory 9.
Majone, Giandomenico. 1994. “The Rise of the Regulatory State in Europe.” West European Politics 17:77101.
Martens, Kerstin, and Jakobi, Anja P., eds. 2010. Mechanisms of OECD Governance: International Incentives for National Policy-Making?. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mitchell, Ronald B., Clark, William C., Cash, David W., and Dickson, Nancy M, eds. 2006. Global Environmental Assessments: Information and Influence. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Möllers, Christoph. 2013. The Three Branches: A Comparative Model of Separation of Powers, Oxford Constitutional Theory, 1st ed., Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Moravcsik, Andrew. 2006. “What can we learn from the collapse of the European constitutional project?Politische Vierteljahresschrift 47(2):219241. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11615-006-0037-7.
Morse, Julia C., and Keohane, Robert O.. 2014. “Contested Multilateralism.” The Review of International Organizations 9(4):385412. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11558-014-9188-2.
Norris, Pippa. 2011. Democratic Deficit: Critical Citizens Revisited. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Preuß, Ulrich K, ed. 1994. Zum Begriff der Verfassung. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag.
Rapaport, Orit, Levi-Faur, David, and Miodownik, Dan. 2009. “The Puzzle of the Diffusion of Central-Bank Independence Reforms: Insights from an Agent-Based Simulation.” The Policy Studies Journal 37(4):695716.
Raz, Joseph. 2006. “The Problem of Authority: Revisiting the Service Conception.” Minnesota Law Review 90(4):10031044.
Raz, Joseph. 2009. The Authority of Law: Essays on Law and Morality, 2nd ed., Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
Rosanvallon, Pierre. 2011. Democratic Legitimacy: Impartiality, Reflexivity, Proximity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Sabel, Charles F., and Zeitlin, Jonathan. 2012. “Experimentalist Governance.” In Oxford Handbook of Governance, edited by David Levi-Faur. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 169–186.
Scharpf, Fritz W. 1999. Governing in Europe: Effective and Democratic?. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schuppert, Gunnar F. 2010. Staat als Prozess: Eine staatstheoretische Skizze in sieben Aufzügen. Frankfurt am Main and New York, NY: Campus.
Sending, Ole Jacob. this issue. “Recognition and Liquid Authority.” International Theory 9.
Shapiro, Martin. 1997. “The Problem of Independent Agencies in the United States and the European Union.” Journal of European Public Policy 4(2):276291.
Simmel, Georg. 2009 [1908]. “Domination and Subordination.” In Sociology: Inquiries into the Construction of Social Forms, edited by Anthony J. Blasi, Anton K. Jacobs, and Mathew J. Kanjirathinkal, 129226. Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill.
Simmerl, Georg, and Zürn, Michael. 2016. “Internationale Autorität: Zwei Perspektiven.” Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen 23(1)):3870.
Tallberg, Jonas, Sommerer, Thomas, Squatrito, Theresa, and Jönsson, Christer. 2013. The Opening Up of International Organizations: Transnational Access in Global Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tamanaha, Brian Z. 2004. On the Rule of Law: History, Politics, Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Thatcher, Mark, and Sweet, Alec S.. 2002. “Theory and Practice of Delegation to Non-Majoritarian Institutions.” West European Politics 25(1):122. https://doi.org/10.1080/713601583.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 2009. “Introduction to ECOSOC Consultative Status”. Accessed October 14, 2013. http://esango.un.org/paperless/Web?page=static&content=intro.
Venzke, Ingo. 2013. “Understanding the Authority of International Courts and Tribunals: On Delegation and Discursive Construction.” Theoretical Inquiries in Law 14(2):381409. https://doi.org/10.1515/til-2013-020.
Venzke, Ingo. 2016. “International Courts in Context: Assessing Authority in the Interplay between Institutions”, unpublished paper, Amsterdam.
Viola, Lora A., Snidal, Duncan, and Zürn, Michael. 2015. “Sovereign (In)equality in the Evolution of the International System.” In The Oxford Handbook of Transformations of the State, edited by Evelyne Huber, Matthew Lange, Stephan Leibfried, Jonah Levy, Frank Nullmeier, and John Stephens, 221236. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Weber, Max. 1978 [1925]. “Chapter III. The Types of Legitimate Domination [Die Typen der Herrschaft].” In Max Weber. Economy and Society. An Outline of Interpretative Sociology, Vol. 1, edited by Guenther Roth, and Claus Wittich, 212301. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Weber, Max. 2013a. ‘Kapitel I. Soziologische Grundbegriffe’, in Borchardt et al. (2013, 147–215).
Weber, Max. 2013b. ‘Kapitel III. Typen der Herrschaft’, in Borchardt et al. (2013, 449–591).
Zürn, Michael, Binder, Martin, and Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias. 2012. “International Authority and Its Politicization.” International Theory 4(1):69106.
Zürn, Michael, Binder, Martin, Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias, and Radtke, Katrin. 2007. “Politische Ordnungsbildung wider Willen.” Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen 14(1):129164.
Zürn, Michael, and Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias, eds. 2013. Die Politisierung der Weltpolitik: Umkämpfte internationale Institutionen. Berlin: Suhrkamp.
Zürn, Michael, Binder, Martin, Tokhi, Alexandros, and Keller, Xaver, Autumn Lockwood Payton. 2015. “The International Authority Data Project”. Paper presented at the International Authority Workshop, December 10–11, Berlin.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Theory
  • ISSN: 1752-9719
  • EISSN: 1752-9727
  • URL: /core/journals/international-theory
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed