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September 27, 2022

♟️ Autocratic legalism: the ‘silent’ authoritarianism

Akudo McGee
All regimes have courts but through so-called ‘autocratic legalism’, autocrats leverage them to consolidate regimes without initially raising red flags. Akudo McGee argues that autocratic legalism easily flies under the radar because early warning signs of autocratisation are subtle. Indicators of autocratisation, therefore, need better taxonomies of authoritarianism to work
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September 15, 2022

♟️ The black box of authoritarian legislatures

Felix Wiebrecht
Almost every country in the world has a legislature. They are at the centre of democratic politics, but also take on crucial roles in authoritarian regimes. Felix Wiebrecht illustrates how a multidimensional approach both helps us to understand their role in dictatorships, and paves the way for more research
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September 2, 2022

♟️ Political purges and their importance for dictators

Austin Scott Matthews
Political purges are dramatic, yet common, events in dictatorships, sometimes bloody and highly consequential. By dissecting the sequence of decisions behind these events, Austin S. Matthews shows that the way a dictator goes about a purge can determine outcomes like regime survival and risk of a coup
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August 26, 2022

♟️ Military coups are key to understanding contemporary autocracies

Sebastian Elischer
Many autocracies emerge through military coups, but studies of hybrid regimes and electoral autocracies largely disregard the role of militaries in their trajectory. Sebastian Elischer shows how armies consolidate their power when they take control and suggests a further research agenda
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August 23, 2022

🦋 ♟️ Control over militaries is the forgotten landmark of democracy after imperialism

Hager Ali
When democracies’ most basic features lose their distinctive edge, differentiating regime types becomes a problem for scholars of democracy and autocracy alike. Hager Ali wants to redraw demarcations between regimes across the political spectrum. To do so, she argues that civilian control over militaries is just as fundamental as suffrage
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August 19, 2022

♟️ Why autocrats’ strategies of legitimation are worth studying

Nahla El-Menshawy
Legitimacy is as vital to the consolidation of authoritarian regimes as it is in democracies, where it is more studied. Nahla El-Menshawy illustrates how regime type, ideology, and historical legacies influence autocratic legitimation strategies
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August 12, 2022

♟️ Before categorising autocracies, we need to count them accurately

Edward Goldring
Hager Ali launched this series by pointing out that 'we lack the terminology to do anything beyond counting non-democracies'. Yet Edward Goldring argues that we sometimes struggle to accurately do that. This raises troubling questions for analyses of non-democracies – and emphasises the importance of studying history
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July 11, 2022

♟️ Autocracy in democracy’s mirror

Matthijs Bogaards
Can we see autocracy more clearly if we see it as the opposite of democracy? Or do we need to look at autocracy as a category in its own right? Matthijs Bogaards provides an answer through a critical examination of the concept of defective autocracy, the mirror of defective democracy.
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July 7, 2022

♟️ A 'cat-dog' called electoral autocracy

Adrián del Río
Since the 80s, electoral autocracy has been considered the most common form of dictatorship. Yet, as Adrián del Río shows, little is known about what this regime is and how we can recognise it. There is, in fact, only a 34% probability of datasets agreeing on examples
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June 7, 2022

♟️ The rise of ‘information autocracies’: Kazakhstan and its constitutional referendum

Bakhytzhan Kurmanov
To understand today’s autocratic regimes, we should look at how they exploit social media, argues Bakhyzhan Kurmanov. In Kazakhstan, a referendum in the name of ‘open government’ is effectively a sham. What's more, it is a cover for autocratic practices of silencing dissent
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Advancing Political Science
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