The Evolution of Autocracy: Why Authoritarianism Is Becoming More Formidable Survival: Global Politics and Strategy


We are delighted to offer you free access to ‘The Evolution of Autocracy: Why Authoritarianism Is Becoming More Formidable’, by Erica Frantz and Andrea Kendall-Taylor, which appears in the latest issue of Survival: Global Politics and Strategy. Andrea Kendall-Taylor will be discussing her article in a members’ event at IISS-Americas on 1 November 2017. Click below to read the article.

Globalisation, shifting great-power dynamics and the growing accessibility of internet and communication technology have changed the environment within which autocrats operate. Many analysts have noted these changes and concluded that the masses now hold the upper hand and that dictators’ days are surely numbered. It may be true that twenty-first century autocrats face more and increasingly complex challenges to their rule. But current accounts of dictatorship seriously underestimate the adaptability of authoritarian systems.

Since the end of the Cold War, dictators have evolved to survive and even thrive amid changes in their domestic and international environments. In this article, Frantz and Kendall-Taylor examine the evolution of authoritarianism since the end of the Cold War. Since 1991, there have been substantial changes in the ways that dictators assume power and in the ways in which they lose power. These changes have implications for the political dynamics in today’s autocracies and made authoritarianism a more formidable challenge.