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Institutionalization, repression and political instability in authoritarian regimes

Olar, Roman-Gabriel (2018) Institutionalization, repression and political instability in authoritarian regimes. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Given that autocrats can be challenged by insiders of their ruling coalition and/or by the citizens of the country they govern, what control strategies can they use in order to minimize the potential for conflict and violence? The current literature on authoritarian politics focuses on the use of co-optation and repression to explain how autocrats mitigate the hazardous conditions under which they rule. The former induce compliance and co-operation by providing social and material benefits, while the latter forces with the threat of physical punishment. While both control strategies received significant attention in the literature, they have been mostly examined separately from each other. Against this background, this thesis contributes to the literature on authoritarian politics and state repression by focusing on the connection between co-optation and repression, on how autocrats use these two control strategies to prevent challenges and how the use of one control strategy impacts the use of the other. This dissertation builds on some of the theoretical and empirical tensions in the current literature and brings several theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of authoritarian politics. Theoretically, this dissertation contributes to the literature by offering an actor-oriented theoretical explanation of autocratic repression against social campaigns, an alternative theoretical mechanism on the coup reducing effect of institutions and a transnational theoretical account of autocratic repression. The empirical contribution of this dissertation rests in showing that accounting for actors’ characteristics improves models’ predictive power, that we know very little about the factors that explain coups’ success in autocracies and demonstrates there is a transnational interdependence in autocratic repression. The findings of this dissertation have implications for dissidents mobilizing against autocrats, for professionals and policy makers interested in political (in)stability, and for organizations attempting to improve human rights practices worldwide.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Roman-Gabriel Olar
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2018 14:43
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2018 14:43
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22671

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