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Patronal Politics
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Book description

This book proposes a new way of understanding events throughout the world that are usually interpreted as democratization, rising authoritarianism, or revolution. Where the rule of law is weak and corruption pervasive, what may appear to be democratic or authoritarian breakthroughs are often just regular, predictable phases in longer-term cyclic dynamics - patronal politics. This is shown through in-depth narratives of the post-1991 political history of all post-Soviet polities that are not in the European Union. This book also includes chapters on czarist and Soviet history and on global patterns.


‘Hale shows that the repeated outbreaks of democratization, as well as the depressing tendency for authoritarianism to re-emerge, are part of the same phenomenon - patronal politics. The realism of his approach is bracing. The model is elegant. The empirical research is rich and compelling. This book will reshape the research agenda on politics in Eurasia, and much of the rest of the world as well.’

Paul D’Anieri - University of California, Riverside

‘Fifteen successor states, the unrecognized para-states, more than a hundred autonomous republics, sizable provinces, big cities including Moscow - the former USSR offers a hugely rich if often unseemly trove of cases for comparative political analysis. Henry E. Hale knows them all firsthand. His theory of patronal politics offers a surprisingly robust yet supple explanation for all this empirical diversity. Perhaps the most important work of synthesis in post-Sovietology, this book acquires special importance as Ukraine, Russia, and other successor states enter the period of wild turbulence.’

Georgi Derluguian - New York University, Abu Dhabi, and RANEPA (Moscow)

‘Patronal Politics is one of the most important books ever written on post-Soviet politics. This is a path-breaking study of the impact of patronalism on relationships between formal and informal institutions and on the evolution of political regimes. Henry E. Hale masterfully combines original theoretical insights with profound analysis of contentious issues of political changes in Eurasia. A must-read for both students of comparative politics and experts on the region.’

Vladimir Gel’man - European University, St Petersburg, and the University of Helsinki

‘Patronal Politics explains more about the trajectories of post-Soviet societies than anything else on the market. Treating the Soviet collapse as a natural experiment in comparative politics, Hale combines insights about hybrid regimes and the logic of collective action (alongside his own extensive fieldwork) to develop a groundbreaking theory of how expectations about power become self-fulfilling prophecies. Vital for scholars, Patronal Politics is so well written that it will also be useful in the classroom.’

Kimberly Marten - Columbia University

‘Professor Hale’s book is an important and distinguished contribution to the critical literature on democratic consolidation. His sophisticated analysis of the politics of post-Soviet Eurasia provides readers with valuable insights into the mainsprings of regime politics. His realistic approach to post-Soviet politics promises to reshape the frameworks that experts use to think about politics in this important part of the world. This book promises to become a standard reference for understanding the underlying logic and trajectories of post-Soviet politics.’

William Reno - Northwestern University

‘Patronal Politics is an incredibly important contribution to the social science literature on Eurasia, as well as the more general comparative politics literature on regime types. Indeed, because of the book’s theoretical and empirical scope, it is likely to be one of the most significant works yet on post-1991 Eurasian politics. Hale’s argument represents a bold challenge to the prevalent political science literature on Eurasia, offering a novel overarching theoretical framework to support his position.’

Brian Taylor - Syracuse University

'Henry Hale has written a masterwork … My admiration for Hale’s magnum opus is profound … Patronal Politics will serve as a brilliant and sadly illuminating road map to the main trends of post-Soviet politics.'

Stephen E. Hanson Source: Slavic Review

'This excellent study will be of value to anyone interested in what followed the Soviet collapse.'

J. Arch Getty Source: American Historical Review

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