Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences - Berlin Graduate School of Social Science

Julian Brückner

Julian Brückner

BGSS Generation 2010



Civilian Supremacy and the Consolidation of Democracy: Linking Democratic Transition and Consolidation in Latin America



Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Merkel

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Weßels



In the steadily growing literature on democratic regime consolidation in Latin America, few systematic efforts have been made to integrate civil-military relations with other well-established explanatory variables. This scholarly neglect seems odd considering the militarized nature of the authoritarian regimes of the 1960s and 70s that enabled the region’s armed forces to actively shape the outcome of democratic transition processes during the Third Wave of Democracy. Against this background, my dissertation project aims to develop a configurational causal model that establishes a path dependency between different modes of transition, the achievement of civilian supremacy, and varying degrees of democratic regime consolidation in the region today. The model will be tested using a mixed methods approach that employs a fuzzy set analysis of 16 South and Central American democracies to select typical cases for further in-depth comparisons using process-tracing. The overarching goal is to show that new insights into the causes of democratic regime consolidation in Latin America may be gained by combining well-established insights from transitology and consolidology –two often unrelated strands of democratization literature– into more complex mid-range theories. Moreover, by focusing on civil-military relations, I challenge the “liberal bias” that leads most scholars of democratization to disregard the role of the armed forces once (formal) democracy has been achieved.


Recent Publications

Brückner, Julian (2011): “Civilian Supremacy and the Consolidation of Democracy: Linking Transition and Consolidation”, paper presented at the IPSA-ECPR Joint Conference “Whatever Happened to North-South?”, February 16-19, 2011 in São Paulo, Brazil.