Institut für Politikwissenschaft



Guest Lecture: "Beyond Fragility. Authoritarianism & Reconstruction in the Middle East"

Prof. Steven Heydemann on Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 18:00 c.t., IfP Room 124, Melanchthonstr. 36

How does authoritarian governance affect conflict dynamics and processes of post-conflict reconstruction? In 2011, a wave of mass protests swept across the Middle East, threatening the stability of consolidated authoritarian regimes. Though often described as a result of poor governance by regimes that were authoritarian but fragile, such diagnoses are misleading. In fact, the conflicts unfolding in the Middle East challenge fragility-based models of conflict and post-conflict reconstruction. Such models fail to acknowledge that some states coded as "fragile" might be delivering the governance outcomes they were designed to produce. These states are not necessarily fragile. They are more appropriately characterized as "fierce states," in which authoritarian elites elevate survival above all else and design institutions to support this aim. Given the scale of conflict in the MENA region, understanding the legacies of authoritarian governance for the political and economic orders that emerge under conditions of conflict, and assessing how such legacies will, in turn, shape processes of post-conflict reconstruction, are critical tasks for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers.

Biography Steven Heydemann

In addition to holding the Janet Wright Ketcham 1953 Chair in Middle East Studies, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government, Steven Heydemann is a nonresident senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy of the Brookings Institution. From 2007–15 he held a number of leadership positions at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., including vice president of applied research on conflict and senior adviser for the Middle East.