Introduction: Democracy and the military in comparative perspective

R. J. May*, Stephanie Lawson, Viberto Selochan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript/introductionpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The authors aim, within the context of current discussions of 'transitions to democracy', to examine the central concerns of the subject. They approach the topic within the framework of a larger interest in the process of regime change and regime maintenance in Asia and the Pacific since it is clear that the military has played a major role both in bringing about changes of regime and in forestalling change.

The principle questions addressed are first, what role has the military played in regime change and maintenance in the countries of Asia and the Pacific, and second, have differences in the degree of military involvement in politics been systematically associated with differences in the performance of the political system, particularly its performance in relation to democratic criteria?

Their sense is that the military is likely to continue to play an important role in the politics of the countries of Asia and the Pacific, notwithstanding tendencies towards democratisation. They propose a shift in focus of research from the military per se, to the activities of soldiers in the complex of military-civil relations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Militray and Democracy in Asia and the Pacific
EditorsR. J. May, Viberto Selochan
Place of PublicationCanberra, ACT
PublisherANU E Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)1920942009
ISBN (Print)1920942017
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bangladesh
  • Burma
  • democracy
  • Fiji
  • Indonesia
  • military regimes
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • regime change and maintenance
  • South Korea
  • Thailand

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