Democratic Wars: An oxymoron? The transformation of democratic processes and structures in times of war
Researcher Univ.-Prof. Dr. André Kaiser, PD Dr. Carlo Masala
Project Description Current research about the "antinomies of democratic peace" (Müller 2002) asks why democracies hardly ever wage war against each other, but behave aggressively or even initiate wars against non-democratic states. As in the discussion concerning the explanation of "democratic peace" itself, several explanatory approaches compete against one another. Each one assumes without question that one of the warring parties in a democratic war is a mature constitutional democracy. But even the first "look around" (Sartori 1991: 245) raises legitimate doubts about this assumption. Not just since the western community of states declared a war on terrorism have democratic states at war detruncated fundamental rights of their citizens (Patriot Act, Airborne Security Law) in aiming at a more efficient warfare and at the protection of the home territory against surprise attacks. So the question arises whether the starting assumption of the theory of democratic war is valid. Should the initial presumption hold, namely that democracies in times of war change or even abandon their democratic character (Agamben 2004), this would have significant consequences for the theoretical formulation of as well as for empirical tests in research on democratic war.
To arrive at a robust theory of democratic war it seems to be of utmost importance, technically speaking, to endogenize the democratic quality of established constitutional democracies. An extensive analysis requires data on warfare since the existence of democracies as well as the quality of these democracies. Large data sets concerning warfare are already available (COW 2005; Chojnacki 2005), but there is a lack of data on the quality of democratic processes in democracies at war. Thus, this project will update the available data sets on warfare in which democratic states were involved and will create a new data set containing information on the quality of democracy in democratic constitutional states which are at war.
In this pilot project we will analyse the extensive, predominantly historical, literature about those democratic political systems which are involved in armed conflicts. We hope to arrive at a list of indicators available for such an analysis.
Funding The project will receive start-up financing from the Centre for Empirical Economic and Social Research while a proposal for third party funding is being drawn up.
  • Qualitative analysis of historical literature
  • Draft of a codebook