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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchCoups And Framing: How Do Militaries Justify The Illegal Seizure Of Power

Coups And Framing: How Do Militaries Justify The Illegal Seizure Of Power

Author: Taku Yukawa, Kaoru Hidaka & Kaori Kushima

Affiliation: Osaka University, Japan/ University of Tokyo, Japan

Organization/Publisher: Democratization

Date/Place: March 16, 2020/London, U.K.

Type of Literature: Journal Article

Number of Pages: 21


Keywords: Coups, Framing, Democracy, Legitimacy, Democratic Coups


The attempt of military in a State to de-seat the elected government is called military coup or intervention. In democratic systems of government, military interventions are not acceptable; therefore, military regimes usually make justifying statements to legitimize their undemocratic acts. This article analyzes the military coups that occurred during 1975-2014 across the globe to understand the methods utilized by militaries to justify their coercive interventions in politics. The study used framing methodology to analyze the statements made by military leaders after successful coup attempts. The focus of this study is primarily on developing States from South Asia, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, where authoritarian regimes had been installed during 1975-2014. There are two trends followed by militaries after successful coups: label framing and value framing. In label framing they expressed reluctance in labelling the coup attempt as an act against democracy and the formation of government afterwards as nondemocratic. Whereas, in value framing, the military claimed that it took political charge according to the larger interest and will of the nation. Furthermore, according to the analyses of data set collected by the authors, it is clear that during and after the Cold War, there is a distinction in the attitude of military establishments while making coups. After the end of the Cold War, the US and European Union are hesitant in acknowledging the military authoritarianism but with one exception of Egypt (as Sisi has been declared by President Trump his most favorite dictator). Therefore, militaries usually calculated the fallout from the international community in their ambition to derail democratic governments. 

By: Muhammad Taimoor Bin Tanveer, CIGA Research Associate



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