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Integrating the Civil–Military Relations Subfield


The subfield of civil–military relations has experienced a remarkable revitalization in recent years, yielding a wealth of intriguing insights. Yet, despite these auspicious developments, research remains unnecessarily divided across multiple dimensions: along the subdisciplinary boundaries of comparative, international, and American politics; within these subdisciplines by independent and dependent variables; by regional focus; by regime type analyzed (democratic, democratizing versus authoritarian); and by scholars’ emphasis on normative versus positive analysis. This article aims to bridge existing divides and reduce fragmentation. It proposes several pathways forward, including proposing innovations in deductive theorizing, developing new analytical frameworks, and synthesizing and adjudicating empirical findings. It also suggests ways of bridging to research beyond the study of civil–military relations, such as that on the global phenomenon of democratic backsliding, the efficacy of nonviolent strategies of political struggle, military effectiveness, and the causes and outcomes of interstate war.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Brooks, Risa A. 2019. "Integrating the Civil–Military Relations Subfield." Annual Review of Political Science 22 (May). https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-polisci-060518-025407

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