Seduction of Religious Clerics and Violence in Autocratic Regimes - with special emphasis on Islam
In establishing and consolidating strong centralized states absolute monarchs do not rely on sheer force alone but they also resort to the tactic of seduction whereby they buy the loyalty of potential rivals or dissenters. We argue with special reference to the lands of Islam that seduction is not conﬁned to political or military rivals or enemies but may be extended to religious clerics whose legitimizing helps sheltering the absolute ruler from open opposition and defusing potential rebellion. Our model which features three actors, the ruler, the religious authorities, and the common people allows us to identify the conditions under which the ruler is more or less likely to grant substantial material privileges to the oﬃcial clerics. By positing (1) that oﬃcial clerics respond not only to material privileges but also to ideological factors, and (2) that their potential contribution to mass protest or revolutionary movements (in the event that the ruler does not choose to treat them well enough) depends on technological/motivational factors encapsulating the inﬂuence of the state of communication technologies or the level of inspiration or emulation gained from successful rebellions in other countries, we are able to make useful predictions and, in particular, to shed new light on the Arab Spring.
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