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The Politics of UncertaintySustaining and Subverting Electoral Authoritarianism$
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Andreas Schedler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199680320

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680320.001.0001

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The Politics of Uncertainty

The Politics of Uncertainty

(p.21) 1 The Politics of Uncertainty
The Politics of Uncertainty

Andreas Schedler

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces “the politics of uncertainty.” All authoritarian regimes, it posits, suffer from two forms of uncertainty: the “institutional uncertainty” that originates in the structural insecurity of authoritarian regimes and the “informational uncertainty” that derives from their structural opacity. The chapter delineates a general theory of regime conflict under dictatorship that revolves around competitive struggles over these two-fold uncertainties. It discusses institutional uncertainties and their treatment in the comparative regime literature. It traces their distant and proximate sources and offers a typology of threats to authoritarian survival. It describes the endemic informational uncertainties authoritarian governance tends to generate. And finally it lays out the twin challenges actors face as consequence of these twin uncertainties: the construction of political realities (the management of threats) and the construction of political appearances (the management of threat perceptions).

Keywords:   political institutions, regime strength, uncertainty, insecurity, opacity

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