What best explains authoritarian endurance? Answer with reference to TWO Asian cases. 2400 words TOPIC I: AUTHORITARIANISM Lecture 9) Non-democratic regimes in Asia Certain texts are indicated as ‘required reading’. Because there are usually two lectures on each topic (one focused on each region), and these both relate to a shared conceptual literature, the required reading is indicated in the reading list in the following way: [*6] indicates that the text is a required reading for the tutorial that relates to lecture number 6. A short summary document listing only essential reading is also provided on the moodle page (I will provide the link and login details for the resources). Please aim to write to a 1st standard!!! You are also encouraged to consult relevant readings from the lists and your own suitable readings, and to read as widely as you can beyond the texts mentioned below as you write and refine your essays. All required readings are available either as electronic copies on BLE or are downloadable directly online or via the SOAS library. Almost all the required readings, including journals, as well as about 95% of the items listed under ‘additional readings’ are available in the SOAS library. In some places on the reading list, shelf-marks are provided for the SOAS library. However, students are advised to consult the libraries of Senate House, UCL and the LSE for the remaining items (as well as any items that might be missing or in short supply in the SOAS library). If there are significant omissions or shortages, please let the course convenors know as soon as possible and we will endeavour to rectify this. In addition, there are a number of internet sources that may be useful in the preparation of your essays and presentations. While it is not possible to list all of the relevant links, a good place to start is the SOAS library googlesholar page: School of Oriental and African studies – some of the require readings are on the BLE resources in this section. You are free to include any other readings from any other section that you think is suitable for this essay. You may use your own sources for more material to include in the essay, include theoretical as well as mainly empirical information. Questions to consider: 1. To what extent can the resilience of authoritarian systems be explained by pointing to the role of ‘culture’ or ‘social structures’ in certain societies? 2. Do elections matter under authoritarian rule? 3. Does classifying types of authoritarianism help understand variation? 4. How are Asian democracies still affected by authoritarian legacies? 5. Assess oppositional strategies under authoritarian rule Thematic Readings Brooker, Paul, Non-Democratic Regimes (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 1-44. (BLE) [*9] Levitsky, Steven and Lucan Way, (2002) “The rise of competitive authoritarianism,” Journal of Democracy 13, 2 (April 2002): 51-65. Levitsky S and Way L (2013) The durability of revolutionary regimes. Journal of Democracy 24(3). Levitsky, Steven and Lucan Way, (2015) The Myth of Democratic Recession, Journal of Democracy,26(1): 45-58. Gallagher ME and Hanson JK (2015) Power Tool or Dull Blade? Selectorate Theory for Autocracies. Annual Review of Political Science 18(1). Gehlbach S, Sonin K and Svolik M (2015) Formal Models of Nondemocratic Politics. Annual Review of Political Science (August). McFaul, Michael “The Fourth Wave of Democracy and Dictatorship: Non-cooperative Transitions in the Postcommunist World,” World Politics 54 (January 2002), 212-44. Snyder, Richard “Beyond Electoral Authoritarianism: The Spectre of Non-Democratic Regimes,” in Andreas Schedler (ed.), Electoral Authoritarianism: The Dynamics of Unfree Competition (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2006) (BLE) Miller MK (2014) Elections, Information, and Policy Responsiveness in Autocratic Regimes. Comparative Political Studies. Gerschewski J (2013) The three pillars of stability: legitimation, repression, and co-optation in autocratic regimes. Democratization 20(1). Pepinsky T (2014) The Institutional Turn in Comparative Authoritarianism. British Journal of Political Science 44(3). Comparative Readings [*9] Bellin, Eva “The Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspective,” Comparative Politics 36, 2 (January 2004): 139-57 (O) [*9] Chang, Yu-tzung, Chu, Yunhan and Pak, Chong-min, “Authoritarian Nostalgia in Asia,” Journal of Democracy – Volume 18, Number 3, July 2007, pp. 66-80. (O) Jacobs, Bruce, “Two Key Events in the Democratization of Korea and Taiwan,” International Review of Korean Studies, Vol 8, No. 1, (2011): 29-56. (O) Asian Cases [*9] Case, William “Malaysia’s resilient pseudodemocracy” in Journal of Democracy 12.1 (2001) 43- 57 (O) [*9] Gallagher, Mary Elizabeth “’Reform and Openness’: Why China’s Economic Reforms Have Delayed Democracy,” World Politics 54, 3 (April 2002), 338-72 (O) Chao, Linda and Ramon Myers (2000). “How Elections Promoted Democracy in Taiwan under Martial Law.” The China Quarterly, No. 162, Special Issue: Elections and Democracy in Greater China: pp. 387-409. Course Description and Objectives Political sociology involves studying the ways that social and economic cleavages and identities affect politics. It draws attention to aspects of politics less emphasised by the study of public policy making, or abstract political-theoretic concepts, concerning itself with empirical studies of particular places and seeking to draw from them more general understandings. It shares this concern with disciplines including sociology and social anthropology, but focuses particularly on how the organisation of, and divisions within, society affect political outcomes. Dominant streams of research have considered: – The formation of popular social and political attitudes and the mobilisation of class-based, religious, ethnic, social and political organisations, as well as patterns of competition between them, including in wars, revolutions, social conflicts, social movements and elections. – How these processes influence the formation, function, maintenance and change of political institutions (including the state itself) and systems of rule. Comparative political sociology is a branch of political sociology that starts with the assumption that concepts such as ‘revolution’, ‘state formation’ or ‘democratisation’ are used to describe events in different times and places that contain similar features. It seeks to better understand patterns and diversity in the universe of possible cases, and relationships between causes and effects. It aims both to shed light on particular places by comparing them, and through doing so to better specify concepts and understand typical political processes. Many ‘classic studies’ of the discipline, and its terms, have been drawn from the study of cases in Europe and North America. This course enables students to explore in depth a range of cases drawn from Asia and Africa and to consider the ways in which they may or may not conform to Western models of state and society, democracy and governance. It enquires as to why these models tend to be regarded as the implicit benchmarks of political development, and opens up the possibility that, through comparison, we more clearly see weaknesses of these constructs as ways even of understanding Western society. 2 In order to encourage the development of in-depth contextual knowledge, the lectures, readings and tutorials focus particularly on a set of cases in Asia: (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan) • Include bibliography • Writer may also use other readings from different parts of the course (different topics)

Sample Solution

Sample solution

Dante Alighieri played a critical role in the literature world through his poem Divine Comedy that was written in the 14th century. The poem contains Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The Inferno is a description of the nine circles of torment that are found on the earth. It depicts the realms of the people that have gone against the spiritual values and who, instead, have chosen bestial appetite, violence, or fraud and malice. The nine circles of hell are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed and wrath. Others are heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Dante’s Inferno in the perspective of its portrayal of God’s image and the justification of hell. 

In this epic poem, God is portrayed as a super being guilty of multiple weaknesses including being egotistic, unjust, and hypocritical. Dante, in this poem, depicts God as being more human than divine by challenging God’s omnipotence. Additionally, the manner in which Dante describes Hell is in full contradiction to the morals of God as written in the Bible. When god arranges Hell to flatter Himself, He commits egotism, a sin that is common among human beings (Cheney, 2016). The weakness is depicted in Limbo and on the Gate of Hell where, for instance, God sends those who do not worship Him to Hell. This implies that failure to worship Him is a sin.

God is also depicted as lacking justice in His actions thus removing the godly image. The injustice is portrayed by the manner in which the sodomites and opportunists are treated. The opportunists are subjected to banner chasing in their lives after death followed by being stung by insects and maggots. They are known to having done neither good nor bad during their lifetimes and, therefore, justice could have demanded that they be granted a neutral punishment having lived a neutral life. The sodomites are also punished unfairly by God when Brunetto Lattini is condemned to hell despite being a good leader (Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). While he commited sodomy, God chooses to ignore all the other good deeds that Brunetto did.

Finally, God is also portrayed as being hypocritical in His actions, a sin that further diminishes His godliness and makes Him more human. A case in point is when God condemns the sin of egotism and goes ahead to commit it repeatedly. Proverbs 29:23 states that “arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” When Slattery condemns Dante’s human state as being weak, doubtful, and limited, he is proving God’s hypocrisy because He is also human (Verdicchio, 2015). The actions of God in Hell as portrayed by Dante are inconsistent with the Biblical literature. Both Dante and God are prone to making mistakes, something common among human beings thus making God more human.

To wrap it up, Dante portrays God is more human since He commits the same sins that humans commit: egotism, hypocrisy, and injustice. Hell is justified as being a destination for victims of the mistakes committed by God. The Hell is presented as being a totally different place as compared to what is written about it in the Bible. As a result, reading through the text gives an image of God who is prone to the very mistakes common to humans thus ripping Him off His lofty status of divine and, instead, making Him a mere human. Whether or not Dante did it intentionally is subject to debate but one thing is clear in the poem: the misconstrued notion of God is revealed to future generations.



Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). Dante’s inferno: Seven deadly sins in scientific publishing and how to avoid them. Addiction Science: A Guide for the Perplexed, 267.

Cheney, L. D. G. (2016). Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno: A Comparative Study of Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccaro. Cultural and Religious Studies4(8), 487.

Verdicchio, M. (2015). Irony and Desire in Dante’s” Inferno” 27. Italica, 285-297.