Civil-Military Relations in Southeast Asia
The relationship between soldier, state and society is a key feature of political life in all nations-states that maintain military organizations—in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. From decolonization until today, the region has been home to a bewildering variety of different types of civil military relations. The national trajectories and patterns of civil-military relations have been highly dynamic and evolved in different and often unexpected directions. The scholarship on structures, processes and outcomes of military and politics in Southeast Asia reflects this. Early research focused on the role of military elites in processes of decolonization and state building in new nations. From the 1960s onward, the scholarship moved toward analyzing the origins of military rule and the capacity of military institutions to steer socioeconomic development as many governments in the region fell to military intervention. Since the late 1990s, a growing body of studies provided insights into the role of military elites in transitions from authoritarian rule to democracy (and vice versa) and how post-authoritarian democracies struggle with the challenge of creating a military that is strong enough to fulfill its functions, but that is subordinate to the authority of democratically elected institutions. In the 2000s, works on security sector governance and security sector reform have become the most recent addition to the literature on civil-military relations in Asia. Yet, few contributions apply conceptual frameworks embedded in military sociology or comparative politics, engage in building theories or approach the topic from a comparative perspective. Building on the existing scholarship in area studies, political science and military sociology, this research reviews the historical origins, contemporary patterns, persistent issues and emerging changes in civil-military relations in all eleven countries of the region from decolonization until today.
Croissant, A. Civil-Military Relations in Southeast Asia (manuscript under contract with Cambridge University Press).
Croissant, A. and D. Kuehn, “Military and Politics“, Routledge Handbook of Asian Politics, edited by Shiping Hua, New York/London: Routledge, 2018.
Croissant, A. “Southeast Asian militaries in the age of democratization: From ruler to servant?“ Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Democratization (edited by William Case), London: Routledge, 314-332.