Accepted paper:

Reforming security or securitizing public policy? Civilian-military and police entanglements in West African security sector reforms

Authors:

Christoph Kohl (Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research (GEI), Braunschweig, Germany)
Nina Müller (German Police University)
Alena Mehlau (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt)

Paper short abstract:

Our paper intends to analyze in how Western security sector experts experience and assess the challenge of implementing SSR in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Nigeria. Light will be shed on how international police and military experts interact with civilians, civilian practices and civil society members.

Paper long abstract:

Over the past decade reforms of the security sector (SSR) - encompassing military, police, judiciary, oversight bodies and related legislation - have been implemented in a number of (post-)conflict countries. Following the emergence of the concept since the 1990s, security perspectives have opened up new fields of activities, and security concerns as part (not only) of SSR endeavours have made strong inroads into traditionally civilian arenas of development cooperation. In doing so, boundaries were redrawn between civilian, military and police domains. SSR is now widely regarded as a pre-condition for socioeconomic development and progress. Our paper intends to analyze in comparative perspective how Western security sector experts experience and assess the challenge of implementing SSR in the three West African countries of Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Nigeria. Light will be shed on how international police and military experts conceive the different security sector arenas, how they interact with civilians, civilian practices and civil society members, and how effects of these interactions materialize at local level. Part of this is the analysis of which kind of reform approaches international security sector experts believe to be suitable, in comparison to civilian concepts. Our empirical analyses question some of the differences between civilian, military and police approaches towards development that are stated, as a matter of routine, in both formal and informal conversations with international SSR personnel as well as in numerous SSR events which we attended as participant observers. The presented findings are based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in 2013 in all three countries.

panel P024
Soldier, security, society: ethnographies of civil-military entanglements