Florina Cristiana Matei reviews Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation

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Matai, Florina Cristiana. Review of Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation. Homeland Security Affairs 18, Article 11 hsaj.org/articles21403

I use Linz and Stepan’s volume titled Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation in Special Topics Democracy and Security course—which I co-teach with Lynda Peters and Dr. Shannon Brown—of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) M.A. Program. This course teaches CHDS students how to assess—critically and analytically, via theoretical and empirical research—the internal and external threats to democracy, and the ways in which these hazards affect, and are affected by the security institutions. Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation, which contains a robust conceptual framework of democratic transition, consolidation, and non-democratic regimes, based on—and tested with—comparative empirical research, is a sine qua non for homeland security professionals’ examination of the security-democracy equation.

To be sure, homeland security practitioners who are called upon to protect the security of the United States—a democratic country—must understand what sustaining democracy involves, and what challenges hinder democratic advancement. They also need to understand the role and place of the security institutions in a democratic milieu and the dangers of conducting their roles and missions in a democratic context of checks and balances, ethical code of conduct, and accountability. Ultimately protecting America’s homeland involves protecting the foundational values and principles of American democracy from any internal or external threat.  Homeland security professionals also need to understand the opposite of democratic systems—non-democratic regimes—their dynamics, including how the role of security institutions in these types of regimes shift from homeland security and citizen protection to regime protection (which in turn encompass abusing their own citizens). Along with the rest of the course materials, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation provides students with a tremendous opportunity to learn about these relationships and processes. In this connection, this volume brings a significant contribution to the understanding of homeland security as an academic field of study and as the starting point of a broader conversation about the institutions, processes, practices, and routines that are associated with sustaining democracy while safeguarding security.

About the Author

Florina Cristiana (Cris) Matei is a Lecturer at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California—where she teaches courses on security institutions and types of political regimes, civil-military relations, strategic decision-making, transnational security threats, and intelligence. Cris is the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence and serves as Vice-Section Chair for the International Studies Association’s Intelligence Studies Section. She is the co-editor (with Bruneau, and respectively Halladay, and Bruneau) of The Routledge Handbooks of Civil-Military Relations (2012 and 2021); (with Halladay) of The Conduct of Intelligence in Democracies: Processes, Practices, Cultures (2019); and (with Halladay and Estevez) of the Handbook of Latin American and Caribbean Intelligence Cultures (2022). She may be reached at cmatei@nps.edu .


Copyright © 2022 by the author(s). Homeland Security Affairs is an academic journal available free of charge to individuals and institutions. Because the purpose of this publication is the widest possible dissemination of knowledge, copies of this journal and the articles contained herein may be printed or downloaded and redistributed for personal, research or educational purposes free of charge and without permission. Any commercial use of Homeland Security Affairs or the articles published herein is expressly prohibited without the written consent of the copyright holder. The copyright of all articles published in Homeland Security Affairs rests with the author(s) of the article. Homeland Security Affairs is the online journal of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS).

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