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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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Shaping the Authoritarian Arena

Shaping the Authoritarian Arena

(p.54) 2 Shaping the Authoritarian Arena
The Politics of Uncertainty

Andreas Schedler

Oxford University Press

Electoral autocracies are hybrid regimes. This chapter explains the nature of their hybridity: They combine institutions of domination with formal institutions of representation. Institutions of domination mobilize violence, money, or ideology. Institutions of representation either empower regime agents by dividing state power (legislatures, courts, and federalism). Or they empower regime adversaries by admitting political pluralism (media, civil society, parties, and elections). On paper, electoral authoritarian regimes introduce the entire set of representative institutions that define modern democracy. In practice, they subvert their democratic spirit through institutional manipulation. The chapter outlines their repertoires of manipulative strategies. It concludes, though, by pointing out the limits of manipulation. The “new institutionalism” in the study of authoritarianism has been analyzing formally representative institutions as instruments of authoritarian rule. By contrast, stressing their relative autonomy and inescapable ambivalence, the chapter conceives them as arenas of struggle.

Keywords:   authoritarian institutions, hybrid regimes, domination, representation, manipulation, ambivalence

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