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Soldiers, Politicians, and Civilians. Reforming Civil-Military Relations in Democratic Latin America

Tuesday May 22, 2018, at 19:00
Room 24.104 (First floor). Mercè Rodoreda 24 building

David Pion-Berlin (University of California)
Rafael Martínez (Universitat de Barcelona

Presenters: Carlos Malamud (Real Instituto Elcano) & Narcís Serra (IBEI)

Are interactions between soldiers, politicians, and civilians improving? Every nation has to come to grips with achieving a more enduring harmony between government, the armed forces, and society if it aspires to strengthen its democracy. While there is an abundance of studies on civil-military affairs, few examine all three of these actors, let alone establish any standards with which to assess whether progress is being made.

This ambitious book devises a novel framework equipped with six dimensions, each of which opens a unique window into civil-military affairs, and which form a more integrated view of the subject. Those dimensions are accompanied by a set of benchmarks and metrics that assess progress and compare one country against another. The framework is applied to case studies of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay, with the conviction that insights could be gleaned that may be relevant elsewhere. Ultimately, by unpacking the civil-military relation into its various dimensions, this study has shed light on what it takes to transform what was once a politically-minded military into an organization dedicated to serving a democratic state and society.


David Pion-Berlin is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside.  He is a Latin Americanist widely known for his research and writings on civil-military relations, defense, security, and human rights. Among his recent publications are: Soldiers, Politicians, and Civilians: Reforming Civil-Military Relations in Latin America (co-authored with Rafael Martínez) New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017; Military Missions in Democratic Latin AmericaNew York: Palgrave Macmillan 2016; Organización de la defensa y control civil de las Fuerzas Armadas en América Latina (co-edited with José Manuel Ugarte) Buenos Aires: Ediciones Jorge Baudino, 2013. His articles have appeared in such journals as Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, International Studies Quarterly, The Journal of Democracy, The Latin American Research Review, Latin American Politics and Society, The Journal of Latin American Studies, Armed Forces and Society, The Human Rights Quarterly, Studies in Comparative International Development, and others. He is a Fulbright Scholar and the recipient of numerous other grants and fellowships, and former co-director of the LASA section on Defense, Public Security and Democracy. 

Rafael Martinez is Professor of Political Science (University of Barcelona).  He has been research Fellow at University of Pau (France), FNSP (Paris, France) and the University of California-Riverside (USA).  He has received the National Prize of Research given by the Ministry of Defence of Spain (2002).  His main publications are: Los mandos de las Fuerzas armadas españolas del siglo XXI, Madrid, CIS, 2007 (Best Book Award 2008 for the Spanish Association of Political Science); “Objectives for democratic consolidation in armed forces” in David Mares & Rafael Martínez (eds.) Debating Civil-Military Relations in Latin America, Brighton, Sussex Academic Press, 2013 (Best Chapter Award 2015 for the Spanish Association of Political Science); “Subtypes of coups d’état: recent transformations of a 17th century concept” Revista CIDOB d’Afers Internacionals n.108 (Best Article Award 2015 for Defense, Public Security and Democracy Section of Latin America Studies Association).