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Dr. Constant (C.W.) Hijzen

Dr. Constant Hijzen is an Assistant Professor in Intelligence Studies at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs and the Institute for History at Leiden University (the Netherlands). He is head of the research group of Intelligence and Security of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University. He is also affiliated to the Institute for History of Leiden University. In my research I focus on the history of intelligence and security services. I use the intelligence and security services as a lens to study broader political, societal, and bureaucratic dynamics that are at play in this specific domain, with a special focus on cultural factors and mentalities. In my dissertation I studied to what extent political, bureaucratic, and societal actors influenced the threat perceptions, organization, and legitimacy of the security services in the Netherlands. In the course of the twentieth century, these organisations started monitoring radical segments of their own populations – out of fear of revolution and subversion. In the process, they had to define both on a conceptual level and in the field what democracy entails and who should be considered antidemocratic. These discussions are fascinating, not only because they took place within the dynamics of secrecy, but also because of their practical implications: those who were considered undemocratic, disqualified themselves from normal politics and might be subjected to surveillance repertoires. In my postdoctoral research, for which I have received a grant of the NCTV, I use the concept of 'intelligence cultures' in order to understand how three comparable Western security services - those of the United Kingdom, (West) Germany, and The Netherlands - have dealt with political violence and terrorism since the late 1960s. The main question is how - seen from a social, political, bureaucratic, organizational, and operational perspective - political violence and terrorism have been perceived as a task for these security services and how they have developed activities in order to counter these security threats. 

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