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Sub National Authoritarians

Authors: Clionadh Raleigh*, University of Sussex, Adnan Nassmullah, Kings College London
Topics: Political Geography, Development, Africa
Keywords: Conflict, Developing World, Authoritarianism
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


We examine the differences in subnational authorities that populate the developing world, and categorize the different forms of authority according to their relationship to the central regime, and the nature of ‘power-resources’ available to them. Four types of authority emerge: agents, who act a local representations of central state power; rivals, who operate in direct defiance and opposition to that same central power; bosses are individuals who have a close relationship to the central regime-- often through party links, but also wield independent local leverage and authority; and chiefs, or customary/traditional authorities, with weak, and largely dependent ties to the central regime. The variation in these forms, but the commonality of these types, transgress the often regionally based literature that seeks to distinguish and isolate forms as an in-situ phenomena. The co-occurrence of subnational authorities across the developing world has striking implications for the risk and modality of political violence, democratic suppression, and ultimately, the emergence of hybrid regimes characterized by both direct and indirect control of territories, populations, and governance practices.

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