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1 - Police

Authoritarian Enclaves in Democratic States

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2020

Yanilda María González
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
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Summary

Chapter 1 develops a theoretical framework for understanding the persistence of police forces as authoritarian enclaves in democracies, distinguishing between authoritarian and democratic coercion. Under authoritarian rule, the primary purpose of coercion is to keep the leader in power, and it is deployed with few constraints. In democracies, where governments must place checks on their own power, coercion ought to be deployed primarily to provide security for the citizenry rather than to serve the interests of the leader, constrained by the rule of law, and subject to external accountability. I disaggregate coercion along three dimensions: the extent to which coercion is governed by law or is applied arbitrarily; the strength of external accountability mechanisms; and whether coercion primarily serves leaders’ interests or to protect citizens. I demonstrate that police reform to promote democratic coercion has been relatively rare in democratic Latin America, even as rising crime and violence made security a salient electoral issue. I assess the problem posed by the endurance of authoritarian coercion for democracies and situate this institutional persistence within the structural power of the police, which leads politicians to engage in accommodation with the police, an exchange relationship that creates entrenched interests that favor institutional persistence.

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Chapter
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Authoritarian Police in Democracy
Contested Security in Latin America
, pp. 1 - 26
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Police
  • Yanilda María González, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: Authoritarian Police in Democracy
  • Online publication: 30 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108907330.001
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  • Police
  • Yanilda María González, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: Authoritarian Police in Democracy
  • Online publication: 30 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108907330.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Police
  • Yanilda María González, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: Authoritarian Police in Democracy
  • Online publication: 30 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108907330.001
Available formats
×