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PhD Defence

Images of the enemy: the security services and democracy, 1912-1992

Wednesday 16 November 2016
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof.dr. H. te Velde
  • Prof.dr. B.A. de Graaf (Univ. Utrecht)
  • Prof.dr. B.G.J. de Graaff (Univ. Utrecht)


'Images of the enemy' explores the history of the Dutch security services between
1912 and 1992 from a political, societal, and bureaucratic perspective. Where, to
present, the historiography has chronicled the organisational and operational
history of the Dutch security services, this study shifts the focus to the interaction
between the security services and their political, social, and bureaucratic
environment. In line with more recent developments within the academic
discipline of the intelligence studies, as reflected in the publications of Scott,
Jackson, Davies, and O’Connell – most notably their work on intelligence cultures
and intelligence systems – this historical study sheds light on how the political,
bureaucratic, and societal environment have helped shape the threat and enemy
perceptions, the organization, and the legitimacy of the Dutch security services
over time. This has resulted in a historical, and not a social scientific, book. This
implies that no theories are tested or formulated on the basis of the archival
research. The aim of this book is not to explain how security services in general
function; instead it tries to shed light on the specific Dutch security services.
This historical study does so by adopting an approach that is analogous to
the Begriffsgeschichte or conceptual history. Drafting on a wide variety of
primary sources, it shows how the meaning of the word ‘security service’ has
evolved over time, by analyzing how, in different eras, different actors in the
environment of the security services have directly and indirectly influenced the
policies and practices of the security services. It is, therefore, studied what the
employees of the security services, politicians, journalists, members of
parliament, concerned citizens, and high civil servants have considered to be the
nature and added value of the security service; and to what extent these actors
have been able to actually impose their will on the security services, by changing
its dominant threat perceptions, organization, and the legitimacy in accordance
with their own ideas and thoughts. This has been done by answering the following
twofold research question: what shape and contents have been given to the Dutch
security between 1912 and 1992 as a result of the interaction with its political,
bureaucratic, and societal environments? And under what circumstances has the
character of the security services changed?


PhD defences are free; you do not have to register.

PhD Dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

Press contact

Inès van Arkel, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
071 527 3282

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