21 Mar

Special Issue on “Parliaments and Security Policy”

Proposal for a Special Issue on “Parliaments and Security Policy” Accepted by BJPIR

The Editors of The British Journal of Politics and International Relations (BJPIR) have accepted a proposal for a special issue on “Parliaments and Security Policy”, guest-edited by Patrick A. Mello and Dirk Peters, to be published in early 2018.

BJPIR is a peer reviewed journal of the Political Studies Association of the UK with an Impact Factor of 1.423 (2016) and Rankings of 62/165 in Political Science and 24/86 in International Relations [More Information].

Summary: This special issue zeroes in on the pivotal democratic institution – parliament – to study legislative involvement in security matters and its effects on policy outcomes. The contributions employ a diverse set of theoretical perspectives and methods to explore the role of parliaments across a broad range of contemporary Western democracies. In doing so, they address three central questions:

(1) What are the opportunity structures for parliamentary involvement in security policy? IR studies often view security policy as dominated by the executive and parliamentary involvement as narrowly circumscribed by constitutional rules. The contributions show that parliamentary influence on security policy is not determined by the extent of formal competences. Instead, we highlight the role of executive leadership styles, of coalition politics, and of parliamentarians’ strategies to make the case for a richer and dynamic understanding of parliaments in security policy.

(2) Are parliaments sites of politicization of security policy? There is a widely-held belief in politics and political theory that parliamentary involvement contributes to the contestation and politicization of security decisions, which is seen by some as endangering the effectiveness of security policy and by others as a welcome challenge to executive dominance and a step towards democratization of this policy field. To examine this assumption, we provide cross-case comparisons of parliamentary politics in the security realm. We show that parliamentary involvement can affect public opinion on executive policies but that parliaments can also contribute to the de-politicization of security issues.

(3) What is the effect of parliamentary participation in security policy? Against the background of insights about the opportunity structure for parliamentary involvement and the parliamentary politics of security, contributions address the effects on policy outcomes. In particular, we examine whether there is cross-country evidence for a “parliamentary peace” and whether parliamentary war powers entail unintended consequences that run counter to normative expectations or historical aims.