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International Court Authority$
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Karen J. Alter, Laurence R. Helfer, and Mikael Rask Madsen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198795582.001.0001

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Power or Authority; Actions or Beliefs

Power or Authority; Actions or Beliefs

(p.412) 21 Power or Authority; Actions or Beliefs
International Court Authority

Andreas Follesdal

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how the theoretical framework presented in this book fits with the substantive chapters. It argues that if the authors maintain their position about motivational agnosticism, they should reconsider whether “de facto authority” is the best label for the kind of impact of international courts (ICs) at various levels that concerns them. At times their claims seem to fit better with an aspiration to map the ICs’ power more generally. The chapter then questions the framework’s explicit bracketing of social legitimacy in the sense of actors’ beliefs about normative legitimacy. It concludes by suggesting one area for future research where scholarship on social and normative legitimacy may in fact be relevant to understand the politics and legitimation strategies of international courts with variable authority.

Keywords:   motivational agnosticism, de facto authority, international courts, social legitimacy, normative legitimacy, legitimation strategies

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