Workshop “Authoritarian Consolidation” Wrap-Up

From 14 to 15 May 2009, a scientific workshop on “authoritarian consolidation”, organized by Christian Göbel (Institute of East Asian Studies IN-EAST) and Daniel Lambach (Institute for Development and Peace INEF) was held at University Duisburg-Essen. This workshop offered a platofrom for german experts on Autoritarianism and Authoritarian Regime Research. Within two days, eight presentations from eleven experts were discussed and in a final plenary discussion, Christian Göbel (IN-EAST), Patrick Köllner (GIGA) and Oliver Schlumberger (University Tübingen) gave an overview on the topic and the results of the workshop.

The objective of the workshop was to bring scholars of authoritarianism together and to discuss issues of stability, durability and consolidation of authoritarian regimes in different regions of the world. Consolidation in the understanding of the workshop organiziers is more a process than a status, that enhances the durability of these regimes. In fact, it also was a starting point  to foster cooperation of German Authoritarianism Research Scholars. As it is a revitalizing research field of growing importance, many different approaches to Authoritarianism were presented at the workshop:

  • Regime responisveness and authoritarian consolidation (Christian Göbel and Daniel Lambach)
  • Perspectives and Positions of Autocracy Research (Steffen Kailitz)
  • Transitions to Autocracy in Russia and Venzuela. Some remarks in the light of  system theory (Rolf Frankenberger)
  • Isomorphy instead of Dichotomy: Operational Modes of State and Society in authoritarian Regimes (Andreas Heinemann-Grüder)
  • Mechanisms of Material Legitimation within Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from the Arab World (Thomas Richter)
  • Regime Legitimacy and regional cooperation of Arab Gulf Monarchies (Leonie Holthaus and Kerstin Schrader)
  • Internal and external Strategies of Legitimation of Authoritarian Rule (Heike Holbig)
  • A market for survival of Authoritarian Regimes – Sudan (Julian Junk and Matthias Mayr)

Paper Abstracts con be found on the workshop page. At least it was a very fruitful and inspiring meeting that can be a starting point for cooperation and innovation in research on Authoritarianism. As Oliver Schlumberger stated, there are different areas of possible research: Questions of legitimacy and strategies of legitimziation, local, national, regional and international levels of analysis, different functions and systemic logics, political, social and economic processes  in authoritarian regimes and the problem of fragile stateness and failed states, just to name a few. My work will concentrate on a “reload” of Talcott Parsons’ Theory on Social Systems, especially the AGIL-Scheme and interchange relations of subsystems as an analytical framework for studying authoritarian regimes and to propose a new way to typologize political systems strictly along their functional logic and interchange systems.

A next workshop adressing authoritarian regimes will be held from 11-14 June in Bad Urach, Germany. Further Information will follow here soon.

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