By Scott Radnitz
Mass mobilization is likely one of the such a lot dramatic and encouraging forces for political switch. whilst traditional voters take to the streets in huge numbers, they could undermine or even topple undemocratic governments, because the contemporary wave of peaceable uprisings in numerous postcommunist states has proven. even though, research into how protests are prepared can occasionally exhibit that the origins and goal of "people power" aren't as they seem at the floor. specifically, protest can be utilized as an tool of elite actors to enhance their very own pursuits instead of these of the masses.
Weapons of the Wealthy specializes in the area of post-Soviet valuable Asia to enquire the factors of elite-led protest. In nondemocratic states, fiscal and political possibilities may give upward thrust to elites who're self sufficient of the regime, but at risk of expropriation and harassment from above. In stipulations of political uncertainty, elites have an incentive to domesticate help in neighborhood groups, which elites can then wield as a "weapon" opposed to a predatory regime. Scott Radnitz builds on his in-depth fieldwork and research of the spatial distribution of protests to illustrate how Kyrgyzstan's post-independence improvement laid the foundation for elite-led mobilization, while Uzbekistan's did not.
Elites usually have the wherewithal and the inducement to set off protests, as is borne out by means of Radnitz's a couple of hundred interviews with those that participated in, saw, or shunned protests. Even Kyrgyzstan's 2005 "Tulip Revolution," which led to the 1st peaceable switch of energy in valuable Asia on account that independence, could be understood as a strategic motion of elites instead of as an expression of the preferred will. This interpretation is helping account for the undemocratic nature of the successor executive and the 2010 rebellion that toppled it. It additionally serves as a caution for students to seem severely at bottom-up political change.
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Additional info for Weapons of the Wealthy: Predatory Regimes and Elite-Led Protests in Central Asia
21 A third way for independent elites to defend or advance their interests without unnecessarily exposing themselves to predatory officials or capricious policy making is to coalesce into informal networks based on common economic or political interests. Networks facilitate collective action in the case of a common threat and may be tolerated by the regime if they do not appear overtly political. 22 On the other hand, formal organizations are more likely to attract the suspicion of the regime, which may fear the potential of an independent party or economic interest group.
47. ” William Josiah Goode, The Celebration of Heroes: Prestige as a Social Control System (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), 7. , 272–73. On the evolutionary basis of conferring prestige on perceived altruists, see Joseph Henrich and Francisco J. Gil-White, “The Evolution of Prestige: Freely Conferred Deference as a Mechanism for Enhancing the Benefits of Cultural Transmission,” Evolution and Human Behavior 22 (2001): 165–96; Mark Van Vugt and Charlie L. Hardy, “Nice Guys Finish First: The Competitive Altruism Hypothesis,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 32, no.
Defectors from a regime coalition can also be considered independent and elite if, after defecting, they retain significant assets that are under their discretionary control. 10. Independent elites in this scenario share the predicament of the middle class (as explained in works by Carles Boix and Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson), which acts as a buffer between the rich (seen as coterminous with the ruling class) and the poor. The middle class is reflexively aligned with the rich in fearing expropriation by revolution or redistributive voting by the poor.