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Call for Papers: Workshop on Existential Security Threats, Militarization and the Accountability of the Use of Military Force

This workshop aims to examine the interrelationship between existential security threats, the militarization of security policy, and the accountability of the use of military force in new and established democracies. Across the world, contemporary democracies have been faced with a broad range of thusly defined existential security threats, both external (war, interstate conflict, mass migration, border security, etc.) and domestic (e.g., organized crime, armed insurgency, terrorism). Many established and young (i.e., post-1974 democracies) employ military force in response to external and domestic security threats. In a recent article, Yagil Levy has argued that the crucial aspect to understanding the reasons for and potential results of the decision to use military force is the legitimation of such acts. He has defined militarization as the discursive process through which the use of military force, including war-fighting but also non-traditional military missions and the preparation of such operations, are defined as normal and potentially desirable reactions to security threats. Accordingly, militarization of security discourses increases the likelihood of using the military to deal with existential security threats by granting it legitimacy, while also affecting the democratic accountability of military force, as other potential options to handle a security threat are taken off the table.

In order to address these issues, we are planning to host a workshop at the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, Germany in early April 2019. We are inviting scholars to send in paper proposals that discuss the interplay between existential security threats, the militarization of security policy and the accountability of military force by answering three questions:

  1. Why and under which circumstances do democratic governments mobilize the military to counter external or domestic security threats?
  2. How do democratic governments legitimize the military’s employment against external and domestic existential threats?
  3. What are the medium to long-term effects of militarization on the democratic accountability of force?

We are interested in receiving paper proposals on single-country studies on new or established democracies in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America that address these questions through theory-guided in-depth empirical analyses. We aim to include cases that are challenged by external threats and cases with domestic threats, as well as cases that experience a militarization of security politics as well as those that did not.

Paper proposals (max. 500 words) should be sent to David Kuehn (david.kuehn@giga-hamburg.de) and Yagil Levy (yagille@openu.ac.il). We are looking forward to receiving your proposals by 14 August 2018. We will decide on the program by 1 September 2018.