Project

Back to overview

Elite ideological consensus regarding national security issues: a cross-national, over-time study using a new methodology

Applicant Sylvan David
Number 159373
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département de Relations internationales et Science politique IHEID, Graduate Institute
Institution of higher education Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies - IHEID
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.08.2015 - 31.10.2019
Approved amount 933'312.00
Show all

Keywords (4)

garrison state; parliamentary debates; national security capabilities; elite ideological consensus

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Les menaces de sécurité: font-elles accroître des idées partagées à propos de la politique idéale pour les combattre? En d'autres termes, est-ce qu'il y une tendance pour chaque pays pour la classe politique de serrer les rangs face aux questions telles que la guerre et la paix, la surveillance des gens, le budget pour la défense, etc.?
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche

Depuis de longues années, on constate que différents pays démocratiques traitent des questions de sécurité nationale de façon très différente qu'ils ne le font pour d'autres questions: les premières sont en quelque sort dépolitisées, au point que les principaux partis politiques se retrouvent régulièrement en accord sur la politique à suivre pour des problèmes ponctuels; en revanche, d'autres questions non-liées directement à la sécurité nationale soulèvent des débats acharnés. Ce constat, qui s'appuie sur des études du "national security state" et, plus anciennement, sur le "garrison state," ne se base pas sur des données systématiques pour différents pays et différents contextes historiques.

 A cet égard, ce projet examinera des débats parlementaires dans huit pays, pour trois types de sujets (la sécurité nationale, d'autres sujets en politique étrangère, et des questions d'ordre interne), et dans trois contextes historiques (le début de la guerre froide, la fin de la guerre froide, et l'ère post-11 septembre 2001). S'il y a des tendances de consensus idéologiques, on devrait voir apparaître au fur et à mesure, des divergences très nettes entre types de sujet, même pour des pays dont l'histoire et le contexte internationale ne se prêtent guère à des grandes forces armées.

Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche

Jusqu'ici, l'étude systématique du "national security state" se heurtait contre des problèmes d'accès: typiquement, des informations sur le budget alloué à la sécurité nationale furent considérées comme des secrets, et également pour les détails des multiple programmes liés à la sécurité nationale. La démarche du projet permet, en principe, de contourner ces difficultés en focalisant sur des implications politiques de le "national security state" plutôt que sur le "national security state" lui-même.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.03.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
2019 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Talk given at a conference Elite Consensus and the Diminution of Parliamentary Debate on Security Agencies: Findings from the Garrison State Project 29.08.2019 Washington, DC, United States of America Schenker Laura; Thornton Ashley; Ganne Juliette; Sylvan David;
9th Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association Talk given at a conference From the Outside In: Fear, Security Agencies, and the Corrosion of Parliamentary Democracy: Findings from the Garrison State Project 20.06.2019 Belfast, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Schenker Laura; Thornton Ashley; Ganne Juliette; Sylvan David;
8th Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association Talk given at a conference Do Democracies Become Garrison States? Cross-national Trends 21.06.2018 Vienna, Austria Ganne Juliette; Schenker Laura; Sylvan David; Thornton Ashley;
School of Politics and International Relations Seminar Series, University College Dublin Individual talk The Garrison State Project: Tracking the Growth of Consensus on National Security 01.11.2017 Dublin, Ireland Sylvan David;
2017 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Talk given at a conference Extracting Interconnected Arguments from Legislative Speech 31.08.2017 San Francisco, United States of America Thornton Ashley; Sylvan David;
7th Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association Talk given at a conference Cross-National Trends in Consensus on National Security 22.07.2017 Milan, Italy Sylvan David; Fey Mira; Thornton Ashley; Ganne Juliette;
Computational Learning and Computational Linguistics (CLCL) Research Group Weekly Meeting Individual talk The Pragmatics of Legislative Debate: Extracting Reasons and Reasoning Chains from Parliamentary Speeches 03.04.2017 University of Geneva, Dept. of Linguistics, Switzerland Sylvan David; Thornton Ashley;
2016 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Talk given at a conference A Farewell to Argument? The Development of Elite Consensus on National Security Policy 01.09.2016 Philadelphia, United States of America Thornton Ashley; Sylvan David;
6th Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association Talk given at a conference Automated Versus Hand-Coding Methods: Identifying Policy Argumentation in Parliamentary Speeches 23.06.2016 Brussels, Belgium Sylvan David; Thornton Ashley;
57th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association Talk given at a conference From Lasswell to Snowden: Do All Democracies End Up as Garrison States? Methodological Notes 16.03.2016 Atlanta, United States of America Sylvan David; Thornton Ashley;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Garrison State Project Website International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Interview on Garrison State Project Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Interview. David Sylvan, project leader sneezz.info Western Switzerland 2015

Abstract

It is hypothesized that post-1945 structural tendencies toward "garrison states" in democratic developed countries imply a long-term tendency toward ideological consensus among political elites on national security issues. Even if they differ on legislative votes, elites will increasingly tend to agree on the framing and general outlines of national security issues, whereas trends toward agreement on domestic or other foreign policy issues will either be attenuated or nonexistent. It is further hypothesized that this tendency toward consensus will be enhanced for a particular country if it recently had an overseas empire and/or is part of a formal multilateral military alliance. The proposed project involves developing a two-part methodology: first, adducing ideologies from trios of legislative debates (on national security issues, other foreign policy issues, and domestic policy issues) by mapping connections between different argumentative claims made by speakers; second, determining overlaps between opposing claims. Overlap scores will be calculated and aggregated to determine the degree of consensus for a given debate in a given country; the methodology will be applied to trios of debates in three time periods (early cold war, late cold war, and post-11 September) for eight countries arrayed across two additional dimensions (empire and alliance), as a way of determining whether the hypothesized tendencies exist.This proposal is relevant in multiple ways. Its disciplinary core is the intersection of foreign policy analysis and comparative politics with political psychology; the findings, the methodology, and the data should be useful in various research programmes: work on the national security state, war-making, executive powers, institutional political development, and secrecy and surveillance; on political polarization and elite consensus; on ideology; and on rhetoric and formal analysis of speeches. The core hypothesis on elite consensus was developed from recent political science work related to Lasswell's "garrison state" construct. The methodologies for coding speeches in debates and assessing covariation in the speeches' claims were developed from work in political psychology on ideology, "framing," and "motivated reasoning," although each of those strands presuppose a stronger notion of covariation than here. The choice of particular countries and time periods is designed to compensate for logistical limitations inherent in non-machine coding of text. Substantively, the proposed research should help explain why elites who disagree bitterly on a host of issues nonetheless share reasoning on matters such as the identification of foreign threats and the appropriate response to them.
-