- Between power and persuasion: on international institutions' authority in making law
- Transnational Legal Theory
- Volume | Issue number
- 4 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL)
Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt, this contribution places authority between power and persuasion. It first argues that authority is a specific kind of power that claims to be legitimate because it connects to the consent of the addressee. But at the same time, authority needs to constrain even if it is not met with agreement. Otherwise it would collapse into persuasion through arguments. What sustains authority between power and persuasion is a discursive practice that builds up a social expectation and that ties actors to the command of the authority. It is with attention to the larger discursive practices that international institutions' authority in making law is best understood. The notion of semantic authority is introduced in order to capture international institutions' capacity to establish reference points for legal discourse that other actors can hardly escape.
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