Construction of legitimacy through contestation of norms and ideas - Legitimacy of the European Central Bank’s crisis governance
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this thesis is to study the social construction of the legitimacy of the European Central Bank (ECB). This research addresses the research gap in literature on the legitimacy of the ECB. The research conceptualizes a constructivist concept of legitimacy as contestation that is shaped by norms and ideas. The theoretical framework is applied in a case study of the ECB’s policies during the European sovereign debt crisis. The textual data consists of statements by significant political actors in European economic governance. A qualitative content analysis is applied as a method of analysis. The main findings of the research are that the dominant legitimacy discourse during the European sovereign debt crisis was shaped by ordoliberal norms. Those norms were challenged, due to their moral commitments, by a communitarian democratic discourse. The thesis argues that the dominant legitimacy discourse establishes a wider framework of legitimacy for the EMU as a whole and does not only legitimate the policies of the ECB. In addition, the thesis contributes to the understanding of the role of norms and ideas as constitutive of legitimacy. In relation to the field of Global Politics, this study introduces a case of legitimacy in supranational global governance.
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