Lucan Way will present the initial findings of his new book project (co-authored with Steven Levitsky, Harvard University), "Revolutionary Struggle and Authoritarian Durability after the Cold War." The project examines why some authoritarian leaders are capable of surviving severe economic crises, large-scale protest, or serious electoral challenges while others are not. We focus on how legacies of violent revolutionary struggle have shaped the capacity of regimes across the globe to deal with crises at the end of the Cold War, when autocrats faced their most serious challenges. Most interpretations of durability focus on the flow of benefits or patronage to top regime officials. By contrast, we will argue that patronage alone is not a very effective source of elite cohesion. Institutionalized patronage may ensure elite cooperation during normal times, but it often fails to do so during crises. The most cohesive regimes, we contend, complement patronage with nonmaterial ties. In particular, we argue that the identities, and social and organizational ties forged during periods of sustained, violent, and ideologically-driven conflict serve as a critical source of cohesion---and durability---in authoritarian regimes
About the speaker:
Lucan Way is associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on democratic transitions and the evolution of non-democratic rule in cross-regional perspective. He is best known for his work on hybrid or competitive authoritarian rule. His book, "Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War" (with Steven Levitsky), was published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press. He has also published in articles in Comparative Politics, Journal of Democracy, Perspectives on Politics, Politics & Society, Studies in Comparative and International Development, World Politics, as well as a number of area studies journals and book chapters. Most recent articles include "Deer in Headlights: Incompetence and Weak Authoritarianism" in Slavic Review and "Beyond Patronage: Violent Struggle, Ruling Party Cohesion and Authoritarian Durability" (with Steven Levitsky) in Perspectives on Politics. He is completing a book: Pluralism by Default and the Sources of Political Competition in the Former Soviet Union and is beginning a new project exploring the impact of violent revolutionary origins on authoritarian durability after the Cold War. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy and is in residence at the Stanford Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law for the fall of 2012.