The Legimation of Security Regionalism: A Study of the Legitimacy Claims of the African Union and the European Union?

Gustavo Gayger Müller

University of Warwick Publications Service. Sep 2015 [Link]

Supervisors: Cristian Olsson (ULB) & Rodney Croft (Univ. of Warwick)


This thesis identifies and analyses the legitimacy claims of regional security organizations in relation to their policies and their existence as relatively new sites of authority. Hence, it explores the normative context underpinning security regionalism between global and national levels. In this regard, it proposes a conceptual and theoretical framework for the study of selflegitimation, which is understood as a dynamic and intersubjective social process of justification of the right to rule. This framework is based on the intersection between the literatures on security, regionalism, and political legitimacy. Its main focus is the identification of the arguments of legitimation that can justify the unequal power relations between rulers and ruled. This thesis’ case studies are the security missions and policies of crisis management of the African Union and the European Union in response to the crisis in Darfur (2003-) and adjacent areas such as Chad and Central African Republic. Building on the framework of self-legitimation and on the analysis of documents produced by both regional organizations, the empirical part identifies fours large patterns of arguments, which are called ‘images of security regionalism’. These images are the beneficial regionalism, the necessary regionalism, the inevitable regionalism, and the multilateral regionalism. The images of security regionalism show that the legitimation of policies and actions, on the one hand, and the legitimation of regional organizations and their positions within security governance, on the other, are indissociable. Moreover, they also reveal that, more than the legitimation of actions, it is often the legitimation of the perceived inaction that is crucial to the organizations’ role as security actors. Finally, the patterns of arguments referring to the inter-organizational relations and to the multilateral and collective character of the organizations’ policies point to a trend of mutual recognition and, by consequence, mutual legitimation among regional organizations.

This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.