Centralization & Strategic State Violence Open Access

Livengood, Lauren (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/x633f197m?locale=en


Using Machiavellian theory and rationalist thought, the author sets up a set of expectations for the behavior of regimes as they repress their populations. Understanding that there is variance between regimes in their execution of repression, she establishes the centralized or decentralized structure of the repressive arm of the regime to be the key variable in the manner of repression adopted by a regime. She investigates this theory through the comparison of the repressive structures and resulting practices of military dictatorships in Chile (1973-1989) and Argentina (1976-1983).

Table of Contents


Introduction 1

Theoretical Expectations 4

Goals of State Use of Violence 4

Growing Powers of the Executors of Violence 6

Fear of Inevitable Persecution 7

General Legitimacy & Dissident Groups 10

Expectations from Theory 11

Dissonance of Theory and Practice 13

Cases of Alternative Regime Behavior 13

Intervening Steps between Strategy and Repression 14

Information Problems, Cohesion, and Principal-Agent Problems 14

Managing Issues through Centralization 16

Amelioration of Divergent Interests 17

Optimizing Levels of Violence and Public Fear 18

Hypothesis: 21

Cases 22

Investigative Methods 22

Data 24

Centralized Case: Chile under Pinochet 26

Overview 26

Coup and Decentralized Era 27

A Move to Centralize: the DINA 29

Move from the DINA to the CNI 31

Figure 1 33

Strategic Benefits of the Central Agencies 33

Decentralized Case: Argentina under Military Rule 40

Overview 40

Coup and Decentralized Repression 41

Figure 2 43

Loss of Faith by the Populace and the Madres de Plaza de Mayo 44

A Bid to Stabilize: the Falklands War 45

Possible Amelioration through Centralization 46

Why Not Centralize? 47

Alternative Explanations 48

Economic Alternative 49

Figure 3 50

International Pressure Alternative 51

Analysis and Conclusions 53

Bibliography 56

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