Ann Louise Lie: ‘We are not a partnership’ – constructing and contesting legitimacy of global public–private partnerships: the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement

In Globalizations, 2019.


Ann Louise Lie


While the legitimacy of global public–private partnerships (partnerships) remains contested, particularly within the fields of health and nutrition, they continue to proliferate. How do partnerships gain and maintain support and recognition in the face of opposition and conflicting perceptions about their legitimacy? Drawing on interviews, observations and document analysis, this article discusses how a nutrition partnership, the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN), has legitimized itself over time through different strategies and normative justifications – and explores the influence of various audiences in shaping its legitimation strategies. As SUN struggles to reconcile conflicting demands among its various audiences through discursive and institutional strategies, an increasing mismatch between SUN’s rhetoric as a country-driven movement and its formalized global governance structures has developed. The article shows how the study of legitimation of partnerships can reveal underlying political struggles that ultimately shape the distribution of power within global governance.

Key words

Legitimacy, legitimation, global public–private partnerships, multi-stakeholder, global governance, nutrition

Published June 15, 2020 1:26 PM - Last modified Aug. 14, 2020 2:00 PM