Shifting light in the Qamariyya : the reinvention of patronage networks in contemporary Yemen
Alley, April Longley.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Georgetown University, 2008.; Includes bibliographical references. Understanding the dynamics of regimes that combine the external trappings of democracy with the substance of authoritarian rule is a central puzzle facing comparative political scientists. Thus far, much of the literature addressing hybrid regimes has focused on the importance of elections, while neglecting variations in the underlying practice of autocracy. This dissertation moves beyond the focus on elections to explore processes of institutional change and renewal within a particular type of hybrid regime: those dominated by neopatrimonial politics. It asks: Under what conditions do elites in neopatrimonial regimes, who are embedded in networks of patronage, defect by building formal political institutions? And, what impact does their defection have on the existing mode of autocracy? To address these questions, the project inductively constructs a typological theory using comparative and within-case analysis of individual elites in the context of the Yemen. It argues that five variables combine to determine if included elites are likely to defect: 1) the degree of patronage inclusion 2) the type of patronage extended, 3) elite identity, 4) life-cycle position, and 5) an ease of defection index. The details of the typological theory do not travel beyond Yemen, yet the study provides analytical insights that inform the analysis of neopatrimonial regimes more broadly. First, it suggests that not all types of patronage are created equal. Scholars wishing to understand the micro-politics of elite bargaining must look beyond an inclusion/exclusion dichotomy to include distinctions in both the degree and type of patronage. Secondly, the project offers a cautionary tale for policymakers and researchers who view defection as a source of democratic change. Powerful elites may choose to defect, but they may do so as a bargaining tactic to reposition themselves in networks of patronage. In these cases, defection may serve to reinvent, rather than attenuate, the existing mode of autocracy.
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