Donnerstag, 19. Oktober 2023

The Two Logics of Autocratic Rule

Book Presentation

Johannes Gerschewski will present his new book "The Two Logics of Autocratic Rule" that has just been published with Cambridge University Press. The presentation will be followed by comments from Seraphine Maerz (Goethe University Frankfurt) and Michael Bernhard (University of Florida).

In his book, Gerschewski argues that all autocracies must fulfil three conditions to survive: the co-optation of key elites into their inner sanctum, the repression of potential dissent, and popular legitimation. Yet, how these conditions complement each other depends on alternative logics: over-politicization and de-politicization. While the former aims at mobilizing people via inflating a friend-foe distinction, the latter renders the people passive and apathetic, relying instead on performance-driven forms of legitimation. Gerschewski supports this two-logics theory with the empirical analysis of forty-five autocratic regime episodes in East Asia since the end of World War II. In simultaneously synthesizing and extending existing research on non-democracies, this book proposes an innovative way to understand autocratic rule that goes beyond the classic distinction between totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. It will be of interest to scholars and students of comparative politics, political theory, and East Asian politics.

Johannes Gerschewski is a Research Fellow of the WZB Research Unit Global Governance.


Data protection
The data protection notice on photo and film recordings can be found here.

WZB barrier-free
The venue is wheelchair accessible. Please let Friederike Theilen-Kosch (friederike.theilen-kosch [at] know if you need special assistance.