How is security provided in turbulent times and how does this affect the relationship between democracy and security? The proposed research training group examines fundamental reconfigurations of the relationship between security and democracy against the backdrop of growing political and societal polarisation, the advent of new digital technologies and the rescaling of security to arenas below and beyond the state. Landesforschungsförderung Hamburg, 2021-2023
Lead Research Fellow / Co-Leader of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies (ad interim)
Editor GIGA Focus Latin America
"Democratizing Security in Turbulent Times" is a collaborative research training group of four Hamburg institutions. It analyses the possibilities and challenges of democratising security in three interconnected research perspectives: ‘rescaling’, ‘reimagining’ and ‘redesigning’ democratic security.
Contribution to International Research
Security is a crucial promise and fundamental value of democratic societies, where we expect principles of accountability, participation, transparency and inclusivity to guide the conduct of political institutions (Dahl 1989: 222). Yet in today’s turbulent times, established relationships between security and democracy are being reconfigured. The proposed research training group examines these fundamental reconfigurations along three distinct research perspectives: reordering, reimagining and redesigning (democratic) security. We investigate the different and at times contradictory ways in which democratic forms of governing security are changing. We ask how the relationship between security and democracy is re-configured under the current challenging conditions.
Research Design and Methods
The research training group combines an interdisciplinary approach with disciplinary academic qualification. It builds on, and further develops, a strong inter‐institutional collaborative network of security scholars in Hamburg.
Reforms of security sector institutions (SSR) are often crucial elements of international support for peacebuilding and democratisation. Although there is no general definition of SSR, it includes demobilisation processes of ex-combatants, mandate and personnel reforms in the police, armed forces and judicial sector. A comprehensive vision of security governance reforms is important as long as these reforms go beyond ending a civil war and are directed towards reducing various manifestations of violence and towards citizen security.
Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 space for women has been constantly shrinking, and the country is facing a humanitarian disaster. European partners may need to engage with the de facto regime, which should not come at the cost of excluding women from the engagement process.
The asasination of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio becomes part of Latin America's search for security policies to confront organised crime. Two models are pursued: El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele opts for extreme repression while Colombian President Gustavo Petro favours talks for disarmament.