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Dictators and their Secret Police
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  • Cited by 14
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    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    González, Yanilda 2019. The Social Origins of Institutional Weakness and Change: Preferences, Power, and Police Reform in Latin America. World Politics, Vol. 71, Issue. 1, p. 44.

    Coppedge, Michael and Kuehn, David 2019. Introduction: absorbing the four methodological disruptions in democratization research?. Democratization, Vol. 26, Issue. 1, p. 1.

    Schwarck, Edward 2018. Intelligence and Informatization: The Rise of the Ministry of Public Security in Intelligence Work in China. The China Journal, Vol. 80, Issue. , p. 1.

    Markowitz, Lawrence P. and Omelicheva, Mariya Y. 2018. Disciplined and undisciplined repression: illicit economies and state violence in Central Asia’s autocracies. Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 34, Issue. 6, p. 367.

    Ong, Lynette H. 2018. “Thugs-for-Hire”: Subcontracting of State Coercion and State Capacity in China. Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 16, Issue. 3, p. 680.

    Scharpf, Adam 2018. Ideology and state terror. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 55, Issue. 2, p. 206.

    Hassan, Mai and O’Mealia, Thomas 2018. Uneven accountability in the wake of political violence. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 55, Issue. 2, p. 161.

    Shen-Bayh, Fiona 2018. Strategies of Repression. World Politics, Vol. 70, Issue. 3, p. 321.

    McEachern, Patrick 2018. Comparative authoritarian institutionalism, regime evolution, and stability in North Korea. Asian Journal of Comparative Politics, Vol. 3, Issue. 4, p. 367.

    Dukalskis, Alexander and Raymond, Christopher D. 2018. Failure of authoritarian learning: explaining Burma/Myanmar’s electoral system. Democratization, Vol. 25, Issue. 3, p. 545.

    Morgenbesser, Lee 2018. Misclassification on the Mekong: the origins of Hun Sen’s personalist dictatorship. Democratization, Vol. 25, Issue. 2, p. 191.

    Hassan, Mai 2017. The Strategic Shuffle: Ethnic Geography, the Internal Security Apparatus, and Elections in Kenya. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 61, Issue. 2, p. 382.

    González, Yanilda María 2017. “What citizens can see of the state”: Police and the construction of democratic citizenship in Latin America. Theoretical Criminology, Vol. 21, Issue. 4, p. 494.

    Kühn, David 2016. „Diktatorenendspiel“. Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, Vol. 26, Issue. 3, p. 351.


Book description

How do dictators stay in power? When, and how, do they use repression to do so? Dictators and their Secret Police explores the role of the coercive apparatus under authoritarian rule in Asia - how these secret organizations originated, how they operated, and how their violence affected ordinary citizens. Greitens argues that autocrats face a coercive dilemma: whether to create internal security forces designed to manage popular mobilization, or defend against potential coup. Violence against civilians, she suggests, is a byproduct of their attempt to resolve this dilemma. Drawing on a wealth of new historical evidence, this book challenges conventional wisdom on dictatorship: what autocrats are threatened by, how they respond, and how this affects the lives and security of the millions under their rule. It offers an unprecedented view into the use of surveillance, coercion, and violence, and sheds new light on the institutional and social foundations of authoritarian power.


'This contribution to international relations theory is for scholars in the field … Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.'

J. P. Dunn Source: Choice

'Dictators and their Secret Police is an important, thoughtful and well-researched contribution to the large and growing body of literature on authoritarianism. It not only fills multiple important gaps, but - as any good book - suggests a number of avenues for future inquiry. Conceptually, the book introduces the useful distinction between fragmented-exclusive and unified-inclusive repressive apparatuses, which immediately raises the question whether there are mixed types (for example, fragmented-inclusive coercive systems), how and why these are chosen, and how they affect coercion in authoritarian regimes. Theoretically, the book not only provides the first systematic and coherent explanation for the particular design of repressive apparatuses and their effects on the human rights tally of authoritarian regimes, but also reminds students of authoritarian politics that repression is the result of agency and strategic considerations by rational actors who react to (or aim to preempt) real or perceived structural threats.'

David Kuehn Source: Democratization

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