Catalogue


Weapons of the wealthy : predatory regimes and elite-led protests in Central Asia /
Scott Radnitz.
imprint
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2010.
description
xiii, 231 p.
ISBN
0801449537 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780801449536 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2010.
isbn
0801449537 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780801449536 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction : puzzles of people power -- Institutional uncertainty and elite-led mobilization -- The view from below : communities as sites for collective action -- The view from above : state influences on elite opportunities -- Linkages across classes : the development of subversive clientelism -- Mobilization in rural Kyrgyzstan -- Elite networks and the Tulip Revolution -- Assessing the dynamics of mobilization in diverse contexts -- Conclusion : political economies, hybrid regimes, and challenges to democratization.
catalogue key
7379094
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
First Chapter
Mass mobilization is among the most dramatic and inspiring forces for political change. When ordinary citizens take to the streets in large numbers, they can undermine and even topple undemocratic governments, as the recent wave of peaceful uprisings in several postcommunist states has shown. However, investigation into how protests are organized can sometimes reveal that the origins and purpose of "people power" are not as they appear on the surface. In particular, protest can be used as an instrument of elite actors to advance their own interests rather than those of the masses. Weapons of the Wealthy focuses on the region of post-Soviet Central Asia to investigate the causes of elite-led protest. In nondemocratic states, economic and political opportunities can give rise to elites who are independent of the regime, yet vulnerable to expropriation and harassment from above. In conditions of political uncertainty, elites have an incentive to cultivate support in local communities, which elites can then wield as a "weapon" against a predatory regime. Scott Radnitz builds on his in-depth fieldwork and analysis of the spatial distribution of protests to demonstrate how Kyrgyzstan's post-independence development laid the groundwork for elite-led mobilization, whereas Uzbekistan's did not. Elites often have the wherewithal and the motivation to trigger protests, as is borne out by Radnitz's more than one hundred interviews with those who participated in, observed, or avoided protests. Even Kyrgyzstan's 2005 "Tulip Revolution," which brought about the first peaceful change of power in Central Asia since independence, should be understood as a strategic action of elites rather than as an expression of the popular will. This interpretation helps account for the undemocratic nature of the successor government and the 2010 uprising that toppled it. It also serves as a warning for scholars to look critically at bottom-up political change.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-08-01:
In this important study, Radnitz (Univ. of Washington) examines the processes of political change in post-Soviet Central Asian states. Based on extensive fieldwork in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, Radnitz sets out to understand the dynamics of mass mobilization in opposition to authoritarian regimes. He argues that the conventional narratives about "revolutionary" upheavals, such as those witnessed in Kyrgyzstan, often obscure the more complex dynamics of these processes of change when old authoritarian regimes break down and new, more pluralistic political systems replace them. In particular, he argues, the image of the bottom-up, people's movement in key ways misunderstands and mischaracterizes these change processes. Radnitz argues that these mass protests, rather than being organized by civil society organizations, result from the incentives created by a system he calls "subversive clientelism." Subversive clientelism develops in contexts in which formal institutions are weak, economic wealth generation outside state structures is possible, and public goods are undersupplied. When these conditions are present, elite actors are able to provide significant benefits to local communities. These benefits in turn allow these elite actors to mobilize collective action that challenges the state in order to promote their own interests. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. A. Paczynska George Mason University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"In this important study, Radnitz examines the processes of political change in post-Soviet Central Asian states. Based on extensive fieldwork in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, Radnitz sets out to understand the dynamics of mass mobilization in opposition to authoritarian regimes. . . . He argues that these mass protests, rather than being organized by civil society organizations, result from the incentives created by a system . . . in which . . . elite actors are able to provide significant benefits to local communities . . . [allowing them] to mobilize collective action that challenges the state in order to promote their own interests."-Choice
"Many analysts casually comment on the importance of 'informal politics' in Central Asia, but in Weapons of the Wealthy, Scott Radnitz provides an elegant theory of 'subversive clientelism' that explains how vertical and horizontal networks of patronage actually operate. This pioneering book is a major contribution to our understanding of the sources of political mobilization in Central Asia and across other illiberal states where coalition-building and contestation take place outside the formal institutions of the state."-Alexander Cooley, Barnard College, Columbia University
"Weapons of the Wealthy is a highly original and comprehensive account of the complicated contortions of political change in Kyrgyzstan. Scott Radnitz makes masterful use of comparative political theory to provide important new insights on why people revolt, even in highly divided societies."-Kathryn Stoner-Weiss, Stanford University
"Weapons of the Wealthy is simply one of the best examples of deep, qualitative, theory-driven research that I have seen. This book is a significant step in building a body of theory on how politics really works in hybrid regimes."-Henry E. Hale, George Washington University, author of Why Not Parties in Russia?
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, August 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'Weapons of the Wealthy' examines the role of élite social groups in the turbulent recent politics of Kyrgystan & Uzbekistan, explaining how the political dynamics of these Central Asia states have diverged.
Bowker Data Service Summary
'Weapons of the Wealthy' examines the role of élite social groups in the turbulent recent politics of Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan, explaining how the political dynamics of these Central Asia states have diverged.
Main Description
Mass mobilization is among the most dramatic and inspiring forces for political change. When ordinary citizens take to the streets in large numbers, they can undermine and even topple undemocratic governments, as the recent wave of peaceful uprisings in several postcommunist states has shown. However, investigation into how protests are organized can sometimes reveal that the origins and purpose of "people power" are not as they appear on the surface. In particular, protest can be used as an instrument of elite actors to advance their own interests rather than those of the masses. Weapons of the Wealthy focuses on the region of post-Soviet Central Asia to investigate the causes of elite-led protest. In nondemocratic states, economic and political opportunities can give rise to elites who are independent of the regime, yet vulnerable to expropriation and harassment from above. In conditions of political uncertainty, elites have an incentive to cultivate support in local communities, which elites can then wield as a "weapon" against a predatory regime. Scott Radnitz builds on his in-depth fieldwork and analysis of the spatial distribution of protests to demonstrate how Kyrgyzstan's post-independence development laid the groundwork for elite-led mobilization, whereas Uzbekistan's did not. Elites often have the wherewithal and the motivation to trigger protests, as is borne out by Radnitz's more than one hundred interviews with those who participated in, observed, or avoided protests. Even Kyrgyzstan's 2005 "Tulip Revolution," which brought about the first peaceful change of power in Central Asia since independence, should be understood as a strategic action of elites rather than as an expression of the popular will. This interpretation helps account for the undemocratic nature of the successor government and the 2010 uprising that toppled it. It also serves as a warning for scholars to look critically at bottom-up political change.
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tablesp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Note on Transliterationp. xiii
Introduction: Puzzles of People Powerp. 1
Institutional Uncertainty and Elite-Led Mobilizationp. 15
The View from Below: Communities as Sites for Collective Actionp. 39
The View from Above: State Influences on Elite Opportunitiesp. 53
Linkages across Classes: The Development of Subversive Clientelismp. 77
Mobilization in Rural Kyrgyzstanp. 103
Elite Networks and the Tulip Revolutionp. 131
Assessing the Dynamics of Mobilization in Diverse Contextsp. 167
Conclusion: Political Economies, Hybrid Regimes, and Challenges to Democratizationp. 195
Methodological Appendixp. 217
Indexp. 225
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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