Advertisement

Theory and Society

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 559–587 | Cite as

Institutions and demotions: collective leadership in authoritarian regimes

  • Ivan ErmakoffEmail author
  • Marko Grdesic
Article

Abstract

Like any other regime, authoritarian regimes mutate. Many of these mutations depend upon the upshot of internecine elite conflicts. These condition the ability of a ruler or would-be ruler to seize state resources and acquire the capacity to exercise violence. It is therefore crucial to investigate the factors that shape the dynamics and outcomes of contention among elite groups in authoritarian regimes. This article pursues this line of investigation by examining from a micro-analytical, process-oriented, and phenomenological perspective how institutions of collective leadership affect power struggles in oligarchic power configurations. Drawing on the case of Serbia in the late 1980s, the following inquiry lays bare three institutional effects. First, collective organs of deliberation and decision-making channel intra-elite contention by defining the arenas in which elite members expect contention to take place (channeling effect). Second, by exacerbating actors’ mutual awareness and coordination dilemma, the forum setting of these collective organs lends itself to the emergence of open-ended situations (indeterminacy effect). Third, the verdicts delivered by institutions of collective leadership shape elite members’ expectations about group allegiance (collective alignment effect). In conjunction with this sequential argument about impact, the present article engages the conceptualization of authoritarian regimes, the analysis of institutional effects, and the study of delegitimation in an interactional setting.

Keywords

Authoritarian regimes Collective alignments Elites Institutional effects Legitimacy Serbia 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Previous versions of this article were presented at the London School of Economics, the European University Institute in Florence and the Social Science Division at NYU-Abu Dhabi. We thank the three reviewers and the editorial board of Theory and Society for their helpful comments.

References

  1. Adut, A. (2018). Reign of appearances: The misery and splendor of the public sphere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alvarez, M., Cheibub, J. A., Limongui, F., & Przeworski, A. (1996). Classifying political regimes. Studies in Comparative International Development, 31(2), 3–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aron, R. (2018). Main currents in sociological thought: Volume 2 (1st ed.). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Berger, J., Ridgeway, C. L., Hamit Fisek, M., & Norman, R. Z. (1998). The legitimation and Delegitimation of power and prestige orders. American Sociological Review, 63(3), 379–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brownlee, J. (2007). Authoritarianism in an age of democratization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bunce, V. (1981). Do new leaders make a difference? Executive succession and public policy under capitalism and socialism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bunce, V. (1999). Subversive institutions: The design and the destruction of socialism and the state. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burg, Steven L. 1986. “Elite Conflict in Post-Tito Yugoslavia,” Soviet Studies, XXXVIII(2): 170–193.Google Scholar
  9. Calvert, R. L. (1992). Leadership and its basis in problems of social coordination. International Political Science Review, 13(1), 7–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chehabi, H. E., & Linz, J. J. (Eds.). (1998). Sultanistic Regimes. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cheibub, J. A., Gandhi, J., & Vreeland, J. R. (2010). Democracy and dictatorship revisited. Public Choice, 143(1), 67–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chwe, M. S.-Y. (2001). Rational ritual: Culture, coordination, and common knowledge. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Clemens, E. S., & Cook, J. M. (1999). Politics and institutionalism: Explaining durability and change. Annual Review of Sociology, 25, 441–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cohen, L. J. (1989). The socialist pyramid: Elites and power in Yugoslavia. London: Tri-Service Press.Google Scholar
  15. Cohen, L. J. (2001). Serpent in the bosom: The rise and fall of Slobodan Milošević. Bolder and London: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  16. Coleman, J. S. (1990). Foundations of social theory. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Collins, R. (2001). Social Movements and the Focus of Emotional Attention. In J. Goodwin, J. M. Jasper, & F. Polletta (Eds.), Passionate Politics: Emotions and Social Movements (pp. 27–44). Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Crawford, S. E. S., & Ostrom, E. (1995). A grammar of institutions. The American Political Science Review, 89(3), 582–600.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Djukić, S. (2001). Milošević and Marković: A lust for power. Translated by Alex Dubinsky. Montreal and London: McGill University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Đukić, S. (1992). Kako se dogodio vođa [how the leader happened]. Belgrade: Filip Višnjić.Google Scholar
  21. Đukić, Slavoljub. 2007. “Kako se dogodio vođa (Fragmenti o jednom lažnom prijateljstvu i počecima nacionalne tragedije)” [how the leader happened (fragments of a false friendship and the beginning of a national tragedy], pp. 39-47 in Zoran Pavić and Slaviša Lekić (eds) VIII. Sednica CK SK Srbije: Nulta tačka “narodnog pokreta” [VIII. Session of the central committee of the league of communists of Serbia: The starting point of the “popular movement”], Belgrade: Službeni glasnik. Google Scholar
  22. Ekiert, G. (1996). The state against society. In Political crises and their aftermath in East Central Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ermakoff, I. (2008). Ruling oneself out. In A theory of collective abdications. Durham and London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ermakoff, I. (2010). Theory of practice, rational choice and historical change. Theory and Society, 39, 527–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ermakoff, I. (2019). Causality and history: Modes of causal investigation in historical social sciences. The Annual Review of Sociology, 45.Google Scholar
  26. Frantz, E., & Ezrow, N. (2011). The politics of dictatorship. Institutions and Outcomes in Authoritarian Regimes. Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  27. Gagnon, V. P., Jr. (1994). Ethnic nationalism an international conflict. International Security, 19(3), 130–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gandhi, J. (2008). Political institutions under dictatorship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gandhi, J., & Przeworski, A. (2007). Cooperation, cooptation, and rebellion under dictatorships. Comparative Political Studies, 40(11), 1279–1301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Geddes, B. (1999). What do we know about democratization after twenty years? Annual Review of Political Science, 2, 115–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Geddes, B. (2003). Paradigms and sand castles. In Theory Building and Research Design in Comparative Politics. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  32. Gerring, J. (2004). What is a case study and what is it good for? The American Political Science Review, 98(2), 341–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Goodwin, J. (2001). No other Way out. States and revolutionary movements, 1945–1991. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Guzina, D. (2003). Socialist Serbia’s narratives: From Yugoslavia to a greater Serbia. International journal of Politics Culture and Society, 17(1), 91–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Helmke, G., & Levitsky, S. (2004). Informal institutions and comparative politics: A research agenda. Perspectives on Politics, 2(4), 725–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jepperson, R. (1991). Institutions, Institutional Effects, and Institutionalism. In W. W. Powell & P. J. DiMaggio (Eds.), in The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis (pp. 143–163). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  37. Johnson, C., Dowd, T. J., & Ridgeway, C. L. (2006). Legitimacy as a social process. Annual Review of Sociology, 32, 53–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Jović, D. (2003). Jugoslavija: Država koja je odumrla [Yugoslavia: A State That Withered Away]. Zagreb: Prometej.Google Scholar
  39. Jović, Dejan. 2008. “Osma sjednica: Uzroci, značaj, interpretacije” [The Eighth Session of the CC LCS (1987): Context, Meaning, Interpretation], pp. 33–68 in Slobodan Milošević: Put ka vlasti – Osma sednica CK SKS: Uzroci, tok i posledice – Srbija 20 godina kasnije 1987–2007 [Slobodan Milošević: Road to Power - Eighth Session of the LCS CC: Serbia 20 Years Later 1987–2007], edited by Momčilo Pavlović, Dejan Jović and Vladimir Petrović. Belgrade & University of Stirling: Institut za savremenu istoriju.Google Scholar
  40. Jović, D. (2009). Yugoslavia: A state that withered away. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Lai, B., & Slater, D. (2006). Institutions of the offensive: Domestic sources of dispute initiation in authoritarian regimes, 1950-1992. American Journal of Political Science, 50(1), 113–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. LeBor, A. (2004). Milosevic: A biography. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Levitsky, S., & Way, L. A. (2010). Competitive authoritarianism. In Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Linz, J. J. (1978). Crisis, breakdown and Reequilibration. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Linz, J. J., & Stepan, A. (1996). Problems of democratic transition and consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and post-communist Europe. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Magaloni, B. (2008). Credible power-sharing and the longevity of authoritarian rule. Comparative Political Studies, 41(4/5), 715–741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Magaloni, B., & Kricheli, R. (2010). Political order and one-party rule. Annual Review of Political Science, 13, 123–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Magaš, B. (1993). The destruction of Yugoslavia: Tracking the break-up 1980–1992. London and New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  49. Mertus, J. (1999). Kosovo: How myths and truths started a war. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  50. North, D. C. (1986). The new institutional economics. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 142(1), 230–237.Google Scholar
  51. North, D. C. (1990). Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pavić, Zoran. 2007. “Olako shvaćena silina” [force, easily understood] pp. 11-27 in Slaviša Lekić and Zoran Pavić (eds.), VIII Sednica CK SK Srbije: Nulta tačka “narodnog pokreta” [eighth meeting of the central committee of the league of communists of Serbia: The starting point of the “National Movement”]. Belgrade: Službeni Glasnik.Google Scholar
  53. Przeworski, Adam. 1988. “Democracy as a Contingent Outcome of Conflicts,” pp. 59–80 in Constitutionalism and Democracy, edited by Jon Elster and Rune Slagstad. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Przeworski, A. (1991). Democracy and the market. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Roeder, P. G. (1993). Red Sunset. The Failure of Soviet Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Schelling, T. (1980 [1963]). The strategy of conflict. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Schmitt, C. (1932). Legalität und Legitimität. Munich and Leipzig: Duncker und Humblot.Google Scholar
  58. Sell, L. (2002). Slobodan Milosevic and the destruction of Yugoslavia. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Silber, L., & Little, A. (1997). Yugoslavia. Death of a Nation. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  60. Stanković, Slobodan. 1981. The end of Tito’s era. Yugoslavia’s Dilemmas. Standford: Hoover Institute.Google Scholar
  61. Stinchcombe, A. L. (1968). Constructing social theories. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  62. Suchman, M. C. (1995). Managing legitimacy: Strategic and institutional approaches. Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 571–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Svolik, M. W. (2009). Power sharing and leadership dynamics in authoritarian regimes. American Journal of Political Science, 53(2), 477–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Svolik, M. W. (2012). The politics of authoritarian rule. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vladisavljević, N. (2004). Institutional power and the rise of Milošević. Nationalities Papers, 32(1), 183–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Vladisavljević, N. (2008). Serbia's Antibureaucratic Revolution: Milošević, The Fall of Communism and Nationalist Mobilization. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  67. von Beyme, K. (1993). Regime transition and recruitment of elites in Eastern Europe. Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration, 6(3), 409–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Weart, S. R. (1994). Peace among democratic and Oligarcic republics. Journal of Peace Research, 31(3), 299–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Weeks, J. L. (2012). Strongmen and straw men: Authoritarian regimes and the initiation of international conflict. The American Political Science Review, 106(2), 326–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Yaziji, M. (2005). Toward a theory of social risk: Antecedents of normative Delegitimation. International Studies of Management & Organization, 34(4), 87–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zucker, L. G. (1983). Organizations as institutions. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 2, 1–47.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of Political SciencesUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

Personalised recommendations