Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Breakdown of Political Systems
The term breakdown of political systems connotes the collapse of any rule-based institutional network engaged in the allocation of scarce resources. Though this rubric could technically embrace networks ranging from empires to smaller, nonstate entities such as clans, the vast majority of the literature on the breakdown of political systems focuses on the collapse of either regimes or states. The disintegration of both regimes and states has been a constant throughout history, and thus, the literature on the breakdown of political systems is vast. This overview merely introduces this literature through a discussion of its basic terms, its origins, and some of its principal arguments. The discussion is confined to four types of political system breakdown: the breakdown of dictatorship, the breakdown of democracy, and the breakdown of states, leading either to new, functioning states or to failed states. Drawing on Robert Fishman's distinctions, we can define a regime A ...