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International transitional administrations and the politics of authority building

Zaum, D. ORCID: (2017) International transitional administrations and the politics of authority building. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 11 (4). pp. 409-428. ISSN 1750-2985

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/17502977.2017.1385237


This article critically examines authority-building practices in the context of statebuilding through the lens of one particular form of external statebuilding interventions: international transitional administrations (ITAs), which are established by international organisations (mainly the UN) to exercise governmental functions over a territory, and in some cases to engage in the establishment or reform of political, administrative, and economic institutions. Drawing in particular on one ITA, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the article aims to critically evaluate authority building as a framework for understanding the practices of statebuilding operations, and to understand the complexities of political authority in statebuilding environments, and their implications for both the pursuit and the analysis of authority building. The discussion of authority building by ITAs will proceed in three steps. The first section briefly outlines the concept of political authority, in particular in the context of fragile and conflict-affected states and of international administrations, and discuss relevant methodological issues. Section two then examines three distinct aspects of authority building by ITAs: claiming and justifying their own authority; recognising and validating the authority claims of local actors and organisations; and strengthening the capacity of local actors to justify their authority claims. The final section concludes the paper with some reflections on political authority and authority building that arise from the discussion in the previous sections.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:61773
Publisher:Taylor and Francis


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