Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way

Dec 16, 2022

Revolution and Dictatorship

The Violent Origins of Durable Authoritarianism

Princeton University Press 2022

Revolution and Dictatorship: The Violent Origins of Durable Authoritarianism (Princeton UP, 2022) explores why dictatorships born of social revolution—such as those in China, Cuba, Iran, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam—are extraordinarily durable, even in the face of economic crisis, large-scale policy failure, mass discontent, and intense external pressure. Few other modern autocracies have survived in the face of such extreme challenges. Drawing on comparative historical analysis, Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way argue that radical efforts to transform the social and geopolitical order trigger intense counterrevolutionary conflict, which initially threatens regime survival, but ultimately fosters the unity and state-building that supports authoritarianism.

Steven Levitsky is the David Rockefeller Professor of Latin American Studies and Professor of Government at Harvard University.

Lucan Way is a professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, where he co-directs the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine.

The previous book by both authors is Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Sally Sharif is Simons Foundation Canada Post-Doctoral Fellow at the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University. Her most recent paper is “Can the Rebel Body Function without its Visible Heads? The Role of Mid-Level Commanders in Peacebuilding.”

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