The workshop “The ‘legitimacy’ and ‘credibility’ of authoritarian regimes after conflicts” will be held by B03 “Trust and Peace Building in Conflict Affected Areas.”
Date: 10:00–12:00 on Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Venue: HyFlex style at Conference Room (Maru), 7F of 80′ Building, Hosei University Ichigaya Campus
*The entrance of 80’ Building is located on the right of the foot of the large stairway.
Presentation: Kosuke Togashi (Doshisha University)
Discussant: Hiroyuki Suzuki (The University of Tokyo)
This workshop is only open to members of the “Islamic Trust Studies” research groups.
10：00 – 10：05 Introduction（Jun Kumakura）
10：05 – 10：45 Kosuke Togashi
“The ‘legitimacy’ and ‘credibility’ of authoritarian regimes after conflicts: How the ‘illiberal peace’ is accepted by residents under the Kadyrov Government in the Chechen Republic?”
10：45 – 11：00 Comments and Discussion by Discussant (Hiroyuki Suzuki)
11：00 – 11：30 Discussion and Q&A
11：30 – 12：00 B03 Group Meeting
In the post-Cold War era, peaceful measures have been expected to solve civil wars and regional conflicts which cause serious damage, and the international community has actively given support to solve them peacefully. However, ‘liberal peace-building,’ which attempts to build a mature democratic government in a society after a conflict, is confronted with enormous difficulties as observed in the case of Afghanistan. On the other hand, it is ‘illiberal peace-building’, a way to bring peace by the military triumph of one side and political stabilization under an authoritarian government, that is recently attracting attention. Nevertheless, the forms of this government, namely, how illiberal peace specifically functions, have not been examined until recently. The researches on them have analyzed authoritarian conflict management: spatial control (repression), authoritarian political economic control (co-optation with elites), and discursive control (legitimation of the regime by the spread of predominant discourse to the masses). These precedent researches, however, have not fully discussed why those approaches had the desired effects and contributed to the stabilization after the conflicts. It is possible to estimate the effects of spatial controls and political and economic controls by the existence of rebellions or the continuance of the government, but there has been no accurate scale to measure discursive control. The effects of discursive control cannot be measured without questioning how the residents have gotten and accepted the predominant discourse of the government for the legitimation of their ‘illiberal peace’. Therefore, this presentation will discuss how ‘illiberal peace’ is accepted (or rejected) by the residents. I will also approach to the ‘legitimacy’ and ‘credibility’ of authoritarian regimes after conflicts through how the residents consider them.
Contact: Saki Yamamoto (yamamoto_saki[at]rikkyo.ac.jp)
Presenter Kosuke Togashi conducted interviews of 10 people in the Chechen Republic in 2018 and 2019. Togashi’s presentation, based on his analysis of the responses to that survey, dealt with people’s rationales in accepting an “illiberal peace”. Togashi began with an overview of the “illiberal peace” theory. He noted that previous studies have generally tended to focus on the forms of control exerted by authoritarian regimes, such as repression, legitimatization, and co-optation, while disregarding the perspectives of the citizens upon whom such control was exerted. With these things in mind, Togashi laid out his examination of the mechanisms of acceptance, exploring the logic underlying how the residents of conflict areas receive dominant discourse formed by the regime in power regarding the legitimacy of that regime. In particular, he said that previous studies hadn’t sufficiently separated a regime’s repression from its legitimatization. He contended that, in considering the mechanisms by which residents come to accept an illiberal peace, we need to focus attention on the ruling regime’s legitimatization. He sees a strong association between attempts at legitimatization and how the residents of a conflict area evaluate the performance of its post-conflict regime.
When Togashi conducted his interviews of Chechen residents, he anticipated 3 rough categories of answers to his questions:
(1) The discourse criticizing the separatist Chechen government (of the 1990s) but praising the current Kadyrov regime.
(2) The discourse praising both the separatist government and the current Kadyrov regime.
(3) The discourse praising the separatist government but avoiding comment on the current Kadyrov regime.
He focused particularly on how the subjects described the current regime.
He received some answers falling into each of the expected three categories, but also tended to get answers that to some extent praised the current regime’s policies emphasizing peace. Togashi showed that, while the residents are aware of problems with the current regime, they nevertheless look favorably upon its achievements, thereby accepting its illiberal peace. He also noted that there were half-hearted replies such as “the current situation is better than war”, and a possibility that stating their acceptance of the current system may be a means of convincing themselves to accept it. Contrary to his expectations, Togashi said, the participants seemed calmly aware of the situation around them.
In response, discussant Hiroyuki Suzuki asked about the distinctions between acceptance through satisfaction versus acceptance through concession, and the possibility of adding a fourth category of “Statements critical of both the independent government and the current regime”. The Q&A period brought a lively discussion with questions and comments from a range of perspectives: There’s a common tendency in conflict zones to “accept the regime, but not trust it”. In the bigger picture context of armed conflict, it can be difficult to draw connections on issues of trust, which is often linked to one’s personal feelings. In addition to “what is giving rise to these comments at this point in time”, we also need to consider the significance of broaching “undiscussable” topics. And what the case of Chechnya has in common with previously researched cases where a populace “behave as if they have accepted” a new regime.
(Report by: Saki Yamamoto)