Governing Insecurity: Democratic Control of Military and Security Establishments in Transitional Democracies

Published on 1 January 2003

Democratic institutions in the post-Cold War era have come to be regarded as the only legitimate forms of governance. Elections have seemingly replaced coups as the main mechanism for changing rulers, and there remain very few overtly military governments. But the longstanding legacies of military rule over the past half century continue to cast a shadow over many newly instituted democratic regimes. And the fact that more and more societies have experienced order and government disintegrating under the pressures of violent conflict and internal war pose even more intractable obstacles to the institutionalization of democracy and human security. The authors of this volume explore the challenges of establishing democratic (and not just civilian) accountability and control of the military and other security establishments (including non-state armed formations) in countries, which have either been the victims of authoritarian military rule or wracked by violent internal conflict.

The book examines both successful democratic transitions and failed ones. A wide range of cases is covered, including Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, the Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Sri Lanka. The problems of ensuring democratic control and reforming the security sector in conditions of regional conflict and insecurity, notably in the Balkans, Latin America and West Africa, are also examined. This volume fills a significant gap in the literature on governance and development, which has hitherto largely neglected military and security questions.


Robin Luckham

Emeritus Fellow

Publication details

published by
Zed Books
Cawthra, G. and Luckham, R.
1 84277 149 3


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