State Archaization: the Role of Information Technologies

State Archaization:
the Role of Information Technologies

Lebedeva M.M.,

Dr. Sci. (Polit. Sci.), Professor, Head of World Politics Department, MGIMO University, Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 250953 | ORCID: 0000-0003-4162-0807 | RESEARCHER_ID: C-2309-2013

Kharkevich M.V.,

Cand. Sci. (Pol. Sci.), Associate Professor, World Politics Department, MGIMO University, Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 547254 | ORCID: 0000-0001-9476-9694 | RESEARCHER_ID: R-7257-2016

Zinovieva E.S.,

Dr. Sci. (Polit. Sci.), Professor of the World Politics Department, Deputy Director of the Centre of International Information Security, Science and Technology Policy, MGIMO University,

elibrary_id: 625192 |

Koposova E.N.,

post-graduate student, Department of World Politics, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University), MFA of Russia,

elibrary_id: 718311 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2016.06.03

For citation:

Lebedeva M.M., Kharkevich M.V., Zinovieva E.S., Koposova E.N. State Archaization: the Role of Information Technologies. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No. 6. P. 22-36. (In Russ.).


The article discusses the destructive role of information technologies in the context of weak state institutions. Contrary to many assertions about the positive relationship between the Internet and democracy, the authors show that under certain conditions this connection can become negative: information technologies, particularly Web 2.0, can stimulate the rollback to archaic politics. The term “archaic politics” implies return to informal institutions and practices based on private power, criminals, religion, kinship and clan. Using the case of the “Arab Spring” in Libya the article proves that the conditions of state archaization are weak extractive state institutions and the lack of a stable national identity. Particularly susceptible to archaization are weak sultanistic states. Mass access to the Internet in such regimes, particularly the spread of Web 2.0 technologies, leads to an increase in the capacity of the protest movement, while weak public institutions cannot effectively control these developments. As a result, it increases the likelihood of splash on the street of well-organized and coordinated through Web 2.0 technologies protest movements, demanding the liberalization of political life. In this case, the state is doomed to archaization. Attempts to suppress the protest movement could lead to civil war, which (in the context of weak state institutions) most likely will result in their final “failure”. In the case the requirements of the protesters are met, the liberalization will occur in the context of weak state institutions, which is also likely to lead to the state archaization. Archaism of public institutions is particularly probable in the Middle East and North Africa, as there is a simultaneous merging of two crises at the global and regional levels. At the global level the fundamental institutions of the Westphalian system are still eroding, at the regional level – the crisis of identity that is associated with the disappearance of the cold war opposition “socialism-capitalism” and the role of political Islam, which undermines the legitimacy of the secular aging regimes. The article also substantiates the conclusion that, contrary to the theory of waves of democratization the rollback can be not only in the direction of authoritarianism, but also in the direction of the archaization.

archaization; development; Internet; the “Arab Spring” democratization theory; sultanistic regimes; informal institutions.

Content No. 6, 2016

See also:

Ilyin M.V.,
“Flaky Pastry” of Politics: Recipes and Improvisations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No1

Bykov I.A., Hall T.E.,
Digital divide and the Internet-users political preferences in Russia. – Polis. Political Studies. 2011. No5

Korotayev A.V., Shishkina A.R., Isayev L.M.,
Arab Spring as a Global Phase Transition Trigger. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No3

Tikhonova S.V.,
Social Networks: Problems of Internet Socialization. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No3

Goldstone J.A., Grinin L.Ye., Korotayev A.V.,
Waves of revolutions in the 21st century. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No4



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