The OSGA Annual Lecture took place on Friday 9 June at St Hugh’s College.
The speaker was Professor Lucan Way from the University of Toronto. Professor Way’s lecture was based on his book of the same name, co-written with Professor Steven Levitsky. He explored why dictatorships born of social revolution—such as those in China, Cuba, Iran, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam—are extraordinarily durable, even in the face of economic crisis, large-scale policy failure, mass discontent, and intense external pressure. Few other modern autocracies have survived in the face of such extreme challenges. Drawing on comparative historical analysis, Professor Way argued that radical efforts to transform the social and geopolitical order trigger intense counterrevolutionary conflict, which initially threatens regime survival, but ultimately fosters the unity and state-building that supports authoritarianism. Looking at a range of revolutionary and non-revolutionary regimes from across the globe, he showed why governments that emerge from violent conflict endure.
You can read more information about the book Revolution and Dictatorship: The Violent Origins of Durable Authoritarianism here.