Ideational Power and Pathways to Legitimation in the Euro Crisis

Martin B. Carstensen, Vivien A. Schmidt

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How have European Union institutional actors sought to build, defend or undermine the legitimacy of crisis management during the euro crisis? Scholars have tended to investigate the euro crisis from either a pragmatic and prescriptive perspective - asking which reforms are necessary to build legitimacy in the governance structure of the Eurozone - or an analytical perspective focused on the power wielding of actors useful for understanding what actors have done and why they have been influential or not. The paper argues that rather than bifurcating the issues of legitimacy and power politics, much may be gained by investigating the relationship between legitimacy and power. Specifically, the paper employs the concept of ideational power to analyze the strategies through which actors have sought to defend their claims to three constitutive dimensions of legitimacy - input, output and throughput legitimacy - and proposes a matrix of nine pathways to legitimation that played into processes of legitimacy battles in the Eurozone crisis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)753-778
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Discourse
  • Euro crisis
  • European Union
  • Ideas
  • Legitimacy
  • Power

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