Seizing Power

Un libro in lingua di Naunihal Singh edito da Johns Hopkins Univ Pr, 2014

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While coups drive a majority of regime changes and are responsible for the overthrow of many democratic governments, there has been very little empirical work on the subject. Seizing Power develops a new theory of coup dynamics and outcomes, drawing upon 300 hours of interviews with coup participants and an original dataset of 471 coup attempts worldwide from 1950 to 2000. Naunihal Singh delivers a concise and empirical evaluation, arguing that understanding the dynamics of military factions is essential to predicting the success or failure of coups.

Singh draws on an aspect of game theory known as a coordination game to explain coup dynamics. He finds a strong correlation between successful coups and the ability of military actors to project control and the inevitability of success. Using Ghana’s multiple coups as well as the 1991 coup attempt in the USSR, Singh shows how military actors project an image of impending victory that is often more powerful than the reality on the ground.

Singh tests his coordination theory by analyzing ten coups in Ghana from 1967 to 1981. In the process he identifies three distinct points of origination: coups from top military offices, coups from the middle ranks, and mutinous coups from low-level soldiers.

Singh’s theory will provide scholars with insight into the dynamics of authoritarian regimes, democratic transitions, and political instability. Seizing Power will appeal to scholars and students of civil-military relations, democracy transition studies, and the politics of Africa.

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