Placed in a modern dilemma: Democratic militaries in the struggle of role reinvention
Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 131.2006: 301-323

Keywords: soldiers, civil-military relations, security sector, democratic control, military strategy, war and democracies, US military strategy

##The end of the Cold War has affected the security sector on either side of the former Iron Curtain. Threat scenarios which had informed security concepts for decades ceased to be in force; democracy appeared to emerge victorious, and a more peaceful world seemed feasible. In spite of the positive perspectives, several military actions were carried out under the auspices of the former Western world in the post Cold War era, and they were legitimised with reference to democratic core values. The events of 9/11, 2001, followed by more terrorist attacks in Bali, Madrid and London in the years 2002 to 2005, triggered off further dynamics. With the so-called war on terror and the related rationale of preemptive warfare established probabilities have been countered of how democratic polities typically pursue their ends. What does the shift mean for the relation of civilians and the military in democracy? How does engagement in the new types of missions influence the way in which soldiers make sense of their tasks today? While conventional dichotomies have vanished, democratic militaries seem to be involved in multifold processes of role reinvention. The article pulls together major trends in the field and summons up questions for outstanding research.##