Thresholds of Opportunity and Barriers to Change in the Right‐Sizing of States

Ian S. Lustick

in Right-sizing the State

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244904
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600050 | DOI:
 Thresholds of Opportunity and Barriers to Change in the Right‐Sizing of States

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Ian S. Lustick asks how can and do states ‘down‐size’ themselves by shrinking the ambit of their authority —a contraction that may be defined as consociationalism, or as partition, or as some combination of both such as in federative or cantonal schemes. Drawing on hegemonic theory of Antonio Gramsci, the author argues that state expansion and state contraction have a regime threshold and an ideological threshold. The elites first develop incumbency‐related interests in preserving central state control over the territory; then images of threats to the regime of the central state overshadow incumbency concerns; and then the larger conception of the state may become part of the common senses of political life. The author proposes applications of the theory to the study of state interests, conflict resolution, and the process of regime institutionalization and deinstitutionalization.

Keywords: conflict resolution; deinstitutionalization; elites; Antonio Gramsci; hegemonic theory; incumbency; Ian S. Lustick; regime; state

Chapter.  11851 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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