fbpx

Working Paper

IDS Working Paper 357

Violence, Security and Democracy: Perverse Interfaces and their Implications for States and Citizens in the Global South

Published on 1 April 2011

How does violence affect the everyday lives of citizens in the global South? Researching this theme under the aegis of the Violence, Participation and Citizenship group of the Citizenship DRC coordinated by IDS, we generated some answers, but also more questions, which this paper starts to explore. Why have democratisation processes failed to fulfil expectations of violence reduction in the global South? How does violence affect democracy and vice versa? Why does security practice in much of the global South not build secure environments? When examined empirically from the perspectives of poor Southern citizens, the interfaces between violence, security and democracy – assumed in conventional state and democratisation theory to be positive or benign – are often, in fact, perverse.

Empirically-based reflection on these questions leads us to two propositions, which the paper then explores through the use of secondary literature. In essence:

Proposition 1: Violence interacts perversely with democratic institutions, eroding their legitimacy and effectiveness. Democracy fails to deliver its promise of replacing the violence with accommodation and compromise, and democratic process is compromised, with citizens reacting by withdrawing from public spaces, accepting the authority of non-state actors, or supporting hard-line responses.

Proposition 2: Security provision is not making people feel more secure. State responses to rising violence can strengthen state and non-state security actors committed to reproducing violence, disproportionately affecting the poorest communities.

Cite this publication

Pearce, J. and McGee, R with Wheeler, J. (2011) 'Violence, Security and Democracy: Perverse Interfaces and their Implications for States and Citizens in the Global South', IDS Working Paper 357, Brighton: IDS

Citation copied

Authors

Image of Rosemary McGee

Rosemary McGee

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
IDS
authors
Pearce, J. and McGee, R with Wheeler, J.
journal
IDS Working Paper, issue 357
isbn
978 1 85864 966 8
language
English

Share

About this publication

Related content