A European Perspective
The porcelain fragility of authoritarian states
Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland
In political science the term “fragility” is used to describe certain states (fragile states) and indicates the condition of their weak capacity or/and the lack of their legitimization with a parallel low level of their affluence (Marcus 2012; Lewis 2013; Denney 2012; Fragile State Index 2014).
However, there is a considerable gap in research concerning the fragility of modern authoritarian states. In this case “the fragile state” is understood differently. The term does not denote inefficiency or the lack of loyalty of citizenry. The issue is of a different nature. Why do these allegedly strong and powerful states, still flexing their military muscles, collapse right after they manifest the first signs of weakness? Why is the collapse of authoritarian structures so sudden? Why do these structures resemble a porcelain vase? Whereas unblemished and beautiful on the surface, why do they shatter into irreparable pieces due to a minor shock?
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