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ECPR 50th Anniversary Fund

Localizing Parliamentary Oversight: a Comparative Area Studies Approach to Military Reform in Indonesia and Nigeria

Conflict Resolution
Local Government
Comparative Perspective
Jürgen Rüland
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Jürgen Rüland
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Gabriela Maria Manea
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Parliamentary control of the armed forces belongs to the most established norms of Western liberal democracies and security sector paradigm. In the aftermath of Third Wave democratization spanning throughout the Global South, external actors have forcefully spread out norms of SSR through financial and technical assistance and with the involvement of a plethora of decentralized actors. This paper critically engages with the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach relying on extensive field research in Indonesia and Nigeria. CAS approach has shed light on the power relations, path dependencies and ideational embedment of the transfer of parliamentary oversight. Firstly, this investigation will take stock of strategies, actors and technical solutions advanced by external actors in the field of parliamentary oversight. Secondly, the paper will identify the causal mechanisms leading to the acceptance, rejection or localization of this norm by drawing on rationalist and sociological assumptions on social interaction. For this purpose, several issue-areas of parliamentary oversight will be empirically investigated throughout three time sequences. Thirdly, the paper will show why similar diffusion strategies by external actors have eventually led to different outcomes on the ground. Finally, we argue that although the nature of regime change, the presence or absence of formal and informal institutional capacities of legislatures and the ideational dispositions of local institutional and individual actors involved in the exercise of democratic control of the armed forces are determinant in explaining different outcomes of norm transfer, these aspects are not being accounted for by the technocratic approach of external actors.
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