Regime cycles and political change in African autocracies

Carboni, Andrea and Raleigh, Clionadh (2021) Regime cycles and political change in African autocracies. Journal of Modern African Studies, 59 (4). pp. 415-437. ISSN 0022-278X

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (364kB)


This article applies a regime cycle framework to understand patterns of change and continuity in African competitive autocracies. We observe that regime change in African autocracies is rarely the result of actions carried out by rebels, opposition leaders or popular masses substantially altering the structure of power. Instead, they are more frequently carried out by senior regime cadres, resulting in controlled reshuffles of power. We argue that such regime shifts are best explained through a cyclical logic of elite collective action consisting of accommodation and consolidation, and ultimately leading to fragmentation and crisis. These dynamics indicate the stage of leader-elite relationships at a given time, and suggest when regimes may likely expand, contract, purge and fracture. We argue that, by acknowledging in which stage of the cycle a regime and its senior elites are dominant, we can gauge the likelihood as well as the potential success of a regime change. Our framework is finally applied to understand recent regime shifts in competitive autocracies across Africa.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Politics, African politics, Regime
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2021 12:53
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2023 13:30

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update
Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
VERSUS - Violence Elites and resilience in states under stressG2187EUROPEAN UNION726504