Garrison State Project


In the post-1945 world, developed democracies have a tendency to become what Lasswell called “garrison states”: countries in which organizations concerned with issues of national security grow in size, become more active, and are less and less subject to oversight. This project explores Lasswell’s theory of garrison states by examining 7 countries from the early cold war to the present, looking specifically at elite ideological consensus on national security versus other issues in parliamentary debates. We expect that, over time, there will be an increase in consensus on national security-related issues not seen in other issue areas—an important finding for anyone interested in national security and surveillance issues, political polarization and elite consensus, ideology, or foreign policy more broadly.


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