Search ETDs:
Authoritarian Landscapes: State Decentralization, Popular Mobilization and the Institutional Sources of Resilience in Nondemocracies
Hess, Stephen E.

2011, Doctor of Philosophy, Miami University, Political Science.

Beginning with the insight that highly-centralized state structures have historically provided a unifying target and fulcrum for the mobilization of contentious nationwide social movements, this dissertation investigates the hypothesis that decentralized state structures in authoritarian regimes impede the development of forms of popular contention sustained and coordinated on a national scale. As defined in this work, in a decentralized state, local officials assume greater discretionary control over public expenditures, authority over the implementation of government policies, and latitude in managing outbreaks of social unrest within their jurisdictions. As a result, they become the direct targets of most protests aimed at the state and the primary mediators of actions directed at third-party, non-state actors. A decentralized state therefore presents not one but a multitude of loci for protests, diminishing claimants’ ability to use the central state as a unifying target and fulcrum for organizing national contentious movements. For this reason, decentralized autocracies are expected to face more fragmented popular oppositions and exhibit higher levels of durability than their more centralized counterparts.


To examine this claim, I conduct four comparative case studies, organized into pairs of autocracies that share a common regime type but vary in terms of state decentralization. These include the single-party autocracies of Taiwan (1949-1996) and China (1949-present) and the personalist autocracies of the Philippines (1972-1986) and Kazakhstan (1991-present). This dissertation compares streams of contention in each of these sites, examining how state structures facilitate and/or impede the shift from localized and particularized forms of contention into nation-level social movements. These divergent outcomes are expected to have a powerful impact on the resilience of individual autocratic states and their likelihood of experiencing regime breakdown.

Venelin Ganev, PhD (Committee Chair)
Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, PhD (Committee Member)
Adeed Dawisha, PhD (Committee Member)
Stanley Toops, PhD (Committee Member)
246 p.

Recommended Citations

Hide/Show APA Citation

Hess, S. (2011). Authoritarian Landscapes: State Decentralization, Popular Mobilization and the Institutional Sources of Resilience in Nondemocracies. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

Hide/Show MLA Citation

Hess, Stephen. "Authoritarian Landscapes: State Decentralization, Popular Mobilization and the Institutional Sources of Resilience in Nondemocracies." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2011. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 31 Jul 2015.

Hide/Show Chicago Citation

Hess, Stephen "Authoritarian Landscapes: State Decentralization, Popular Mobilization and the Institutional Sources of Resilience in Nondemocracies." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2011. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

Files

miami1321543554.pdf (1.73 MB) View|Download