Sabine Mannitz

Policy and Research Papers

The "Democratic Soldier": Comparing Concepts and Practices in Europe

Since the end of the Cold War almost all European countries have reformed their armed forces, focusing on downsizing, internationalization and professionalization. This paper examines how these changes in security sector governance have affected the normative model underlying the military’s relationship to democracy, using the image of the “democratic soldier”. Drawing on a comparative analysis of 12 post-socialist, traditional and consolidated democracies in Europe, the different dimensions of the national conception of soldiering are analysed based on the official norms that define a country’s military and the ways in which individual members of the armed forces see their role. Cases converge around the new idea of professional soldiering as a merging of civilian skills with military virtues in the context of the military’s new post-Cold War missions. Yet despite this convergence, research also shows that specific aspects of national traditions and context continue to influence the actual practice of soldiering in each case. The contradictions that result between these old and new visions of the role of the military and the soldier illustrate the tensions that exist between political goals and defence reform dynamics.


From Paternalism to Facilitation: SSR Shortcomings and the Potential of Social Anthropological Perspectives

This paper discusses the shortcomings of the established Security Sector Reform (SSR) concept and practice and argues for an overhaul of the ways in which transformations in security spaces are approached. In consideration of the theoretical and practical implications of the quest to involve local actors in SSR, a related research agenda is sketched and a case is made in particular for the inclusion of social anthropological perspectives to foster an empirically grounded evaluation of security governance interactions and transformations in context. This could be relevant to the search for strategies to support longer term facilitation processes and overcome the widespread paternalism in donor-recipient relations.

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