Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
John A. Xanthopoulos
Political scientists have delineated five “crises” that nations seem to undergo, in sequence, in their political development. Identity: People develop a national identity over and above their tribal, regional, or local identities. Bretons came to think of themselves as French and Bavarians as Germans. We see now that Uzbeks and Latvians never considered themselves “Soviets,” and because of this the Soviet Union collapsed with astonishing speed. Some countries are still caught up in an identity crisis. Legitimacy: People develop the feeling that the regime's rule is rightful and should be obeyed. A system without legitimacy requires massive amounts of coercion to keep it together and functioning. Penetration: As the government's writ expands through the country, starting usually with the capital city, it encounters resistance, for many people dislike paying taxes to, and obeying the laws of, a distant authority. Local rebellions are crushed and police are brought in to enforce ...