Download Authoritarian Landscapes: Popular Mobilization and the by Steve Hess PDF

By Steve Hess

The turbulent yr of 2011 has introduced the looks of mass well known unrest and the cave in of lengthy lived autocratic regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and doubtless Syria. The unexpected and unanticipated fall of those regimes – frequently considered exemplars of authoritarian resilience - has introduced a lot of the traditional knowledge at the toughness and vulnerability of nondemocratic regimes into query. This ebook seeks to boost the present literature by way of treating the autocratic nation no longer as a unitary actor characterised by means of energy or weak point yet particularly as a constitution or terrain which could however inhibit or facilitate the looks of nationwide point different types of protests. within the mode of the Arab Spring, the colour revolutions of the previous Soviet Union, and the folks strength circulation of the Philippines, such hobbies conquer the daunting impediments provided by means of autocrats, attract likeminded opposite numbers throughout society, and crush the facility of regimes to take care of order. Conversely, in different settings, reminiscent of modern China, decentralized kingdom constructions supply an inhospitable atmosphere for national-level protest, top collective actors to pick out extra neighborhood and parochial different types of competition. This consequence produces paradoxical events, comparable to within the PRC, the place protests are common yet national-level mobilization and coordination is absent.

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Additional info for Authoritarian Landscapes: Popular Mobilization and the Institutional Sources of Resilience in Nondemocracies

Sample text

As Tocqueville once lamented in Democracy in America (1840/2003), “Centralization is a word endlessly repeated nowadays whose meaning no one, in general, seeks to define” (103). Sharing this sentiment, scholars (Conyers 1984; Hutchcroft 2001; Triesman 2002; Work 2002) have written a growing number of reviews of the literature, aimed at bringing order to an expansive body of research featuring highly interrelated terms such as decentralization, deconcentration, delegation, devolution, and federalism.

In a twist to the more upbeat predictions of decentralizing optimists, the transfer of political power and authority from the center to the periphery may actually improve overall government responsiveness while also preserving and sustaining authoritarian rule and impeding popular demands for democratic change. In this sense, decentralization may improve autocracies’ performance in governing, which consequently makes citizens more comfortable with the authoritarian status quo. In short, a system in which authority and state resources are diffused to subnational governments promotes authoritarian resilience in several ways.

Instead of taking parochial actions that were restricted to local targets, involved limited actions, and were carried out by specific social groups, contentious repertoires evolved into genuine social movements (Tarrow 1994, 6; Tilly 1993a, 272). These collective actions involved interests and issues that were “national” in scope. Forms of protests were “modular” or could be applied in the same form by different groups, interests, and in different contexts. They were also “autonomous” actions that were initiated by independent groups without direction from central authorities or activists (Tilly 1993a, p.

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