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9 Comp. Pol. Stud. 3 (1976-1977)

handle is hein.journals/compls9 and id is 1 raw text is: 




ELITE SUCCESSION, PETRIFICATION,

                   AND POLICY INNOVATION

                     IN   COMMUNIST SYSTEMS

                          An Empirical Assessment


                                             VALERIE BUNCE
                                          University of Michigan



 S   cholars and laymen alike are constantly intrigued by elite succession,
     the changing of the political guard, not simply out of a fascination
with power and the powerful, but also because they believe that it makes a
difference for society and for themselves. This assumption, however, has
largely remained just that-an assumption. The bulk of the scholarly
research on  the topic has  tended to treat succession only as an
independent variable; thus, the primary focus has been on issues, such as
who  rules (see, for instance, Beck, 1973), how the rulers rose to power
(see, for example, Rustow, 1964; Rush, 1968, 1974; Burling, 1974; Polsby
and Wildavsky, 1971), or how the succession shapes elite values, attitudes,
and behavior (Prewitt, 1970; Snowiss, 1966; Seligman, 1971; Brzezinski
and Huntington, 1963: 235-268).
   However, considerably less attention has been paid to the equally
important linkage (if any) between leadership succession and policy
change. In most studies of succession (particularly those of the communist
variant), this aspect-the policy impact of succession-is not so much
ignored as assumed. This assumption in fact serves as the primary rationale
for most studies of succession-China after Mao, for example, is supposed
to be somehow different from China with Mao (Wang, 1973; Robinson,


AUTHOR'S  NOTE: I would like to thank John Echols, William Zimmerman, Zvi
Gitelman, Grey Hodnett, and Robert Putnan for their comments on earlier drafts of
this paper. I would also like to thank one of the anonymous reviewers, who made
some invaltable methodological suggestions.
COMPARATIVE   POLITICAL STUDIES, Vol. 9 No. 1, April 1976
@1976 Sage Publications, Inc.


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