Authoritarianism reloaded

From 11-14 June a workshop on authoritarian political systems will bring together scholars at the Conference Centre “Haus auf der Alb” of the Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg to discuss their approaches to autocracies, dictatorships, authoritarian political systems. There will be a broad range of topics presented and discussed from conceptional and theoretical approaches  to more empirical case studies and comparative studies. Although working language will be German, the programme could be of interest.

In a first round, conceptional and theoretical approaches will be presented. Steffen Kailitz will give an overview on the state of the art of autocracy-research in Germany and beyond. A profound and critical assessment of strategies of conceptualization, regime typologies and the problem of the continuum of democracy and totalitarianism will be presented by Kevin Koehler and Jana Warkotsch. As a third conceptual approach,  Holger Albrecht and Rolf Frankenberger advocate the necessity of an analysis of authoritarian regimes without democracy-sunglasses and present a conceptualization inspired by system theory of  Talcott Parsons.

A second point will be the question of systems, structures and institutions. Thomas Demmelhuber will present an analysis of the “Gamal-clique” in Egypt to illustrate new mechanisms of power and rule. Christina Trittel investigates the role and functions of parliaments in authoritarian regimes using the example of the National Assembly of Belarus from 1996 to 2009.

The relationship between State, Society and Economy will be the focus of the third discussion round. Daniel Lambach and Christian Goebel, organizators of the previously discussed workshop on authoritarian consolidation, are presenting their analytical framework on responsiveness of authoriatrian regimes. Subsequently, Gert Pickel examines whether or not authoritarian regimes are in need of (specific and diffuse) support as a core aspect of state-society-relations. picking up this perspective, Susanne Pickel and Toralf Stark explore and compare political cultures of authoritarian regimes on the basis of quantitative empirical data.

Change and reform will be at the core of the fourth session. Michael Schmidmayr discusses the directions and reasons of reform processes in the arab gulf states, Christian Timm is investigating the functional logics of post-transformatory regimes after transitions from neopartimonial rule, and Marco Buente will give an overview on authoritarian regimes in East Asia

In the last session, stability and reproduction of authoritarian rule will be in the focus of discussion. Petra Stykow will open the the las session on stability and reproduction of authoritarian rule with an anaylsis of mechanisms of reproduction of non-democratic regimes in the postsowjet space. Christoph Stefes and Jenniver Sehring choose a comparative perspective on stability of competitive authoritarian regimes in Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Last not Least, Beatrice Schlee will investigate mechanisms of survival in times of crisis in Zimbabwe.

A discussion of perspectives of research on authoritarianism will close the workshop on late saturday. A brief summary of papers and main results of discussions will be published here betimes.

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