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An anocracy is a regime-type where power is not vested in public institutions but spread amongst elite groups who are constantly competing with each other for power. Examples of anocracies in Africa include the warlords of Somalia and the shared governments in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Anocracies are sometimes considered to be situated midway between an autocracy and a democracy.
Anocracy is recognized by the Polity IV dataset as a category of government. In that dataset, a country is an anocracy if its polity score is neither high enough to be labeled a democracy nor low enough to be labeled an autocracy.
Often the word is defined more broadly. For example a 2010 International Alert publication defined anocracies as "countries that are neither autocratic nor democratic, most of which are making the risky transition between autocracy and democracy". Alert noted that the number of anocracies had increased substantially since the end of the Cold War. Anocracy is not surprisingly the least resilient political system to short-term shocks: it creates the promise but not yet the actuality of an inclusive and effective political economy, and threatens members of the established elite; and is therefore very vulnerable to disruption and armed violence.
'More murder in the middle'
'Hybrid' or anocratic regimes have been characterised[by whom?] as being in the centre of the democratic continuum. Some maintain that the 'more murder in the middle' theory (MMM) explains that anocratic governments tend to be present where the most repression is seen, whereas governments more democratic or with more authoritarian elements tend to have lower levels of repression. The high level of repression in anocratic states has been described, by some, as being related to the lack of "clarity/certainty with which political leaders governed".
Use of the word "anocracy" in English dates back to at least 1950, when R. F. C. Hull's reprinted translation of Martin Buber's 1946 work Pfade in Utopia [Paths in Utopia] distinguished "anocracy" (Revived Ancient Greek: *ἀκρατία akratia) from "anarchy" by detailing the latter as "not absence of government but absence of domination".
- Marshall, Monty G.; Cole, Benjamin R. (1 December 2011). "Global Report 2011: Conflict, Governance, and State Fragility" (pdf). Vienna: Center for Systemic Peace. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- Vernon, Phil; Baksh, Deborrah (September 2010). "Working with the Grain to Change the Grain: Moving Beyond the Millennium Development Goals" (pdf). London: International Alert. p. 29. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- Fein, Helen. 1995. "Life Integrity Violations and Democracy in the World, 1987". Human Rights Quarterly. Vol 7:1. Pages 170-191.
- Goodhart, Michael. 2009. Human Rights: Politics and Practice.New York: Oxford University Press. Page 132.
- Buber, Martin (1950) . Paths in utopia. The Martin Buber Library. Translated by R. F. C. Hull. Syracuse University Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780815604211. Retrieved 2013-04-25. "[...] Kropotkin is ultimately attacking not State-order as such but only the existing order in all its forms; [...] his "anarchy", like Proudhon's, is in reality "anocracy" (akratia); not absence of government but absence of domination."
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