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Right-sizing the StateThe Politics of Moving Borders$
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Brendan O'Leary, Ian S. Lustick, and Thomas Callaghy

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244904

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199244901.001.0001

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Thresholds of Opportunity and Barriers to Change in the Right‐Sizing of States

Thresholds of Opportunity and Barriers to Change in the Right‐Sizing of States

(p.74) 3 Thresholds of Opportunity and Barriers to Change in the Right‐Sizing of States
Right-sizing the State

Ian S. Lustick (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Ian S. Lustick asks how can and do states ‘down‐size’ themselves by shrinking the ambit of their authority —a contraction that may be defined as consociationalism, or as partition, or as some combination of both such as in federative or cantonal schemes. Drawing on hegemonic theory of Antonio Gramsci, the author argues that state expansion and state contraction have a regime threshold and an ideological threshold. The elites first develop incumbency‐related interests in preserving central state control over the territory; then images of threats to the regime of the central state overshadow incumbency concerns; and then the larger conception of the state may become part of the common senses of political life. The author proposes applications of the theory to the study of state interests, conflict resolution, and the process of regime institutionalization and deinstitutionalization.

Keywords:   conflict resolution, deinstitutionalization, elites, Antonio Gramsci, hegemonic theory, incumbency, Ian S. Lustick, regime, state

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