Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term militia can have multiple meanings ranging from the legal to the historical, but in general, it denotes a military force composed of ordinary citizens. A militia may be used to provide defense, law and order, or security during emergencies. It may be a way for the state to fulfill a legal obligation to provide defense activities to protect a community, its territory, property, or laws. In some countries or cultures, a militia may consist of volunteers who are able-bodied citizens, including women, whereas in other countries or cultures, it may be a reserve force composed of citizens/soldiers. It can also be a private, nonstate force with or without government sanction. The term militia can also refer to a national police force, as in Nazi Germany or in former communist states such as the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia. This entry discusses the empirical meaning of the concept and Etymologically, ...