Beyond Authoritarianism: The Conceptualization of Hybrid Regimes

  • Leah Gilbert
  • Payam Mohseni


This paper appraises the state of the field on hybrid regimes by depicting the tensions and blurred boundaries of democracy and authoritarianism “with adjectives.” An alternative conceptualization and ordering of regimes are subsequently introduced using a configurative approach. Rather than place regimes on a linear continuum from authoritarianism to democracy, it highlights the multi-dimensional arrangements possible for the construction of regime types. The configurative approach also provides an analytically useful way to measure and integrate hybrid regimes into our classificatory schemes. As a result, it helps alleviate the conceptual confusion in the literature and contributes to a discussion of hybrid regimes beyond the framework of authoritarianism. The paper concludes by presenting a list of all hybrid regimes in the world between 1990 and 2009 identified with this method.


Authoritarianism Hybrid regimes Regime classification Concept building and measurement 



The authors would like to thank Marc Morjé Howard for all of his support and advice throughout the duration of the project. They also thank Juan Linz, Steven Levitsky, Gary Goertz, Richard Snyder, Jason Brownlee, Svend-Erik Skaaning, and Luis Felipe Mantilla for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of the paper. The suggestions from two anonymous reviewers were also greatly appreciated. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association where it received the Honorable Mention, Sage Paper Award in the Qualitative Methods Section.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Georgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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