Political Science Seminar: Jonathan Powell (University of Kentucky)

Sabancı University

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences



The Paradox of Political Survival: The Utility and Consequences of Coup-Proofing



Jonathan Powell
PhD Candidate
Department of Political Science
University of Kentucky



Wednesday, 21 March 2012
13:00 - 14:30
FASS 2034


ABSTRACT:  International relations scholarship investigating military capabilities has traditionally focused on responses to foreign threats.  I move beyond this approach by considering the consequences of leader responses to a specific domestic threat: the military coup.  Though far outnumbering all other forms of non-electoral power transitions, the coup has remained far less studied than other forms of anti-regime activity.  Even more understudied are empirical assessments of the mechanisms that leaders employ when attempting to maintain power: coup-proofing.  I show that coup-fearing leaders willingly sacrifice the fighting capacity of the state in order to reduce the likelihood of a coup, even negating the ability of their armed forces to function in combat.  Analyses demonstrate that leaders successfully reduce the likelihood of a coup but are ultimately more vulnerable to insurgency.