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How Peace Operations Work: Power, Legitimacy, and Effectiveness, Jeni Whalan

Reviewed by Lise Howard



In this book, Jeni Whalan has united the literatures on power and legitimacy with the technicalities of peace operations in a novel, significant, and thor­oughly convincing manner. Whalan’s cross-disciplinary analysis provides an excellent typology for understanding the crucially important role of legitimacy in peace operations. Most studies of peacekeeping focus on problems of effectiveness without seriously considering what Whalan calls the “currencies of power.” These currencies are adapted from Ian Hurd’s framework (“Legiti­macy and Authority in International Politics,” International Organization 53 [Spring 1999]: 379–408) and mirror the central debates in international relations between realists, liberals, and constructivists, whereby power is exercised through coercion (sticks), inducement (carrots), or legitimacy (nor­matively appropriate actions). In Whalan’s analysis, “The resilience of legiti­mate power explains the qualitatively better cooperation secured through legitimacy than that attained by coercion or inducement” (p. 66). She goes on to explain further: “Legitimation is a causal process that leads actors to cooperate with a peace operation based on the belief that the operation is right, fair, and appropriate in the local context” (p. 76). In sum, when peace o

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