Regimes and change

Regimes and change

Week 10

Learning objectives:

  Understand the concepts:

  • Civil Society
  • Democracy
  • Autocracy
  • Corporatism
  • Consociationalism

As a special opportunity in 2016 we will focus on regimes and regime change in Turkey: Kemalism, Gulenism, and Erdogan.

Class coordinators

Team 5


We will begin this week with a review of the mnemonic device introduced in chapter 8, illustrating the relationship between security, governance, economy, and society.

Particularly important are the concepts of bridging and bonding social capital, and their connection to functioning economies. But equally critical is the concept that market economies driven by liberal ideology can break down the social relations that protect people’s livelihoods, and this can result in counter-movements as people struggle for survival in a hostile market economy. Market enthusiasts call this “creative destruction” while market skeptics may call it by other names, and Marxists speak of “revolutionary conditions.”

We will also explore the link between civil society and democracy, and between society and a functioning market. There are three fundamental contradictions that beset modern society, and generate a great deal of the political tension and violence with which states inevitably contend.

The first is the contradiction inherent in liberal democracy – individual freedoms and majority rule. One consequence is the tension surrounding minority “market dominant elites” like Chinese diaspora communities in South East Asia (Chua)

The second is the contradiction between a self-regulating market and the “fictitious commodities” (Polanyi) of land (nature), labour (people), and capital (money). The third is the contradiction between self-government and living with an increasingly pervasive market economy that constrains decisions of self-government. These three contradictions are interrelated.

Responses to the three contradictions are often driven by ideology, particularly the ideology of market liberalism, or the counter-ideologies of fascism and communism, which generated the Second World War and the Cold War.

We’ll put this puzzle in the context of theories about the state, by continuing our discussion from week 7 about the future of the state, and particularly the varieties of “market state” envisioned by Bobbitt and his colleagues from the Clinton administration as the contemplated changing balances of state and corporate power at the end of the Cold War. The role of corporations and markets, collective negotiations and management of land, labor and capital as fictitious commodities.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the concept of Civil Society
  2. Understand the concept of Democracy
  3. Understand the concept of Autocracy
  4. Understand the concept of Corporatism
  5. Understand the concept of Consociationalism


Required Reading

Tremblay, ch.12
Scott, ch.2


We will do a quick check to ensure that assignment 2 is on track.

The critical task this week is to make sense of the concept of regimes, and prepare notes on the changing nature of the state based on characteristics of civil society, democracy, autocracy, and the rising power of corporations. You may find the mnemonic from week 8 to be a useful starting point, but you will have to develop your own way to see transitions and the interaction of corporations with the state.

Self-Assessment Questions

  1. what is civic engagement, and how do people become engaged in it? What do governments do to encourage or discourage civic engagement? Why would they want to discourage it?
  2. How is civil society related to democracy? What can governments do to constrain or expand democratic involvement? What particular institutions are important in preserving and expanding civic engagement?
  3. How do economic factors impact democratic engagement and mobilization? Are these related to class and collective interests, or are individual identities too fragmented and multidimensional for class to be a major factor today, as it might have been in the past?
  4. What are corporations, and how do they engage in politics? Is this related to corporatism, or are the two distinct phenomena?
  5. What are plural societies and consociational democracies, and what are the prerequisites for their existence? Are market economies essential for pluralism because they result in dispersed and competing centres of power, or are they ultimately inimical to democracy, because of their tendency to concentrate power and wealth in fewer and fewer hands?


This week’s seminar will concentrate on defining the key terms listed in the learning objectives, and then exploring the self-assessment questions, with priority to question 5.


Weekly activities can be adjusted by class coordinators in consultation with the professor

Week 5 checklist of material

[1] Introduction from class coordinator – time allocation
[2] Current events of political significance (domestic, international) [60s]
[3] Review/amend focus of learning objectives [5D]
[4] Key terms [5D, GLI]
[5] Mapping the Political Landscape [5D, GLI]
[6] External resources [class coordinator]
[7] Exam questions [5D, GLI]
[8] Looking ahead: next week’s class coordinator introduces (last 15 minutes)

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