Structure, Power and Legitimacy

Mads Blankenburg, Aleksander K. Molin & Patrick Schack

Student thesis: Termpaper


Our point of departure for this project is the United Nations Security Council. We have decided to look into the structure of the Security Council as well as the chapters of the Charter by which it exists. Furthermore, we will draw this structure into question, both by means of Barnett and Duvall’s theory of power as well as Clark and Hurd’s views on legitimacy, but also via Buzan’s conceptions of solidarism and pluralism. By using Buzan, we will also question the universalistic nature of the United Nations in the context of the Security Council and its permanent members. We will use Barnett and Duvall’s theory of power, and Baldwin´s definitions of means, to describe first and foremost what power is, but also to illuminate emerging powers and a changing global order. We intend to use Clark and Hurd to get a baseline on legitimacy, which we then intend to apply to cases of Security Council mandated actions. Following our analytical steps, we will discuss the Security Council, both in terms of its anachronistic structure, but also in terms of emerging powers and the legitimacy of the Security Council in a changing global order. We conclude that the changing global order, emphasized with the emerging powers is challenging the legitimacy and power of the structurally static UNSC. This is especially indicated in terms of economy and contribution where a number of the permanent members have started being rivalled or superseded from emerging powers.

EducationsGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Undergraduate or graduate
Publication date21 Jan 2013
SupervisorsOlivier Rubin


  • Security Council
  • emerging powers
  • United Nations
  • Legitimacy
  • Power