Prestige, Manipulation, and Coercion: Elite Power Struggles in the Soviet Union and China After Stalin and Mao
Joseph Torigian (Author)
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DescriptionHow succession in authoritarian regimes was less a competition of visions for the future and more a settling of scores "Joseph Torigian's stellar research and personal interviews have produced a brilliant, meticulous study. It fundamentally undermines what political scientists have presumed to be the way Chinese Communist and Soviet politics operate."--Dorothy J. Solinger, University of California, Irvine The political successions in the Soviet Union and China after Stalin and Mao, respectively, are often explained as triumphs of inner-party democracy, leading to a victory of "reformers" over "conservatives" or "radicals." In traditional thinking, Leninist institutions provide competitors a mechanism for debating policy and making promises, stipulate rules for leadership selection, and prevent the military and secret police from playing a coercive role. Here, Joseph Torigian argues that the post-cult of personality power struggles in history's two greatest Leninist regimes were instead shaped by the politics of personal prestige, historical antagonisms, backhanded political maneuvering, and violence. Mining newly discovered material from Russia and China, Torigian challenges the established historiography and suggests a new way of thinking about the nature of power in authoritarian regimes.
Yale University Press
May 10, 2022
6.2 X 9.3 X 0.9 inches | 1.41 pounds
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About the Author
Joseph Torigian is an assistant professor at the School of International Service at American University and a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.
"In Prestige, Manipulation, and Coercion, Joseph Torigian of American University is less interested in coalitions than the mechanics of transfers. Challenging conventional analyses of how authoritarian leaders are chosen, he argues that factors such as ideology and patronage matter less than brass-knuckle tactics."--Ian Johnson, New York Review of Books "Do read Torigian's Prestige, Manipulation, and Coercion. . . . It's great."--Stuart Lau, Politico "Prestige, Manipulation, and Coercion . . . is . . . useful for those interested in understanding how actors in Leninist systems fight for power."--Martin Laflamme, Los Angeles Review of Books "[Torigian's] ambitious first book re-examines critical junctures in Soviet and Chinese history, putting up a revisionist case against the consensus view of Deng Xiaoping and Nikita Khrushchev as reformers."--John Delury, Global Asia "[S]pecialists will find much to ponder in this careful, detailed examination of a critical question in the functioning of authoritarian regimes."--Mary Elise Sarotte, Engelsberg Ideas "[A] detailed account of the internal battles at pivotal historical moments in two Leninist systems. . . . [Torigian's] reconstructions of the politics behind ideological debates are impressive."--Andrew Batson's Blog "Joseph Torigian's stellar research and personal interviews have produced a brilliant, meticulous study. It fundamentally undermines what political scientists have presumed to be the way Chinese Communist and Soviet politics operate."--Dorothy J. Solinger, University of California, Irvine "Joseph Torigian combines history and political science in a remarkably acute and innovative study of leadership politics in the Soviet Union and China. It will help us understand authoritarian regimes today."--David Holloway, Stanford University