International Diffusion and Cooperation of Authoritarian Regimes - IDCAR-Network

Dr. André Bank
Dr. Maria Josua
Leibniz Competition

Julia Bader, University of Amsterdam

Jason Brownlee, University of Texas (Austin)

Valerie Bunce, Cornell University

Aurel Croissant, University of Heidelberg

Thomas Demmelhuber, University of Hildesheim

Marlies Glasius, University of Amsterdam

Marianne Kneuer, University of Hildesheim

Karrie Koesel, University of Oregon

Wolfgang Merkel, WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Christoph H. Stefes, University of Colorado (Denver)

Oisin Tansey, King’s College (London)

Lucan Way, University of Toronto

Kurt Weyland, University of Texas (Austin)

Laurence Whitehead, University of Oxford




Research Questions

  • How do international diffusion and cooperation impact on different authoritarian regimes?
  • How do authoritarian diffusion and cooperation among authoritarian regimes operate as power maintaining mechanisms?

Contribution to International Research
In politics and political science alike, the increasing international influence of authoritarian regimes has become a central concern. The controversy about a ‘reverse wave’ of democratisation, the expansion of non-democratic rule (Merkel 2010; Puddington 2008, 2009), and the ‘backlash against democracy promotion’ (Carothers 2006, 2009) reflects this trend. The strand of research that does approach the issue from an authoritarian durability perspective still needs to develop a comprehensive conceptual approach (Ambrosio 2010; Erdmann et al. 2013). By bringing together some of the most renowned experts in the field, the IDCAR network contributes to the systematic study of international diffusion and cooperation of authoritarian regimes, connecting this research agenda to the overarching theoretical debates of the discipline. The IDCAR network is defined by the research topic and a shared interest in the dynamics of authoritarian politics beyond an exclusively domestic perspective. The collaborative network brings together international experts from twelve institutions in Europe and North America. Individual findings are exchanged among the network researchers, thematic agendas are discussed and developed at conferences and workshops and then carried out in concrete research and publication projects. The networking process is institutionalised by an academic exchange programme and a substantive research unit at the GIGA.

Research Design and Methods
Using a CAS approach, the network brings together researchers who study authoritarian diffusion and cooperation from divergent explanatory perspectives using a broad range of comparative methods. The IDCAR network is defined by the research topic and a shared interest in the dynamics of authoritarian politics beyond an exclusively domestic perspective. Members of the IDCAR network employ large-N quantitative studies as well as small-N comparisons and single-case studies for studying the diffusion and cooperation of authoritarian regimes. The studies include both cross-regional and within-area comparisons.

Preliminary Results
Network members from the GIGA have started to develop an analytical framework to study the international cooperation of authoritarian regimes (Erdmann et al. 2013).Various contributions appeared in a forum section of the November 2015 issue of the European Journal of Political Research guest edited by two IDCAR members. The first IDCAR network conference, held in December 2014 at the GIGA, presented the network members’ current research projects and discussed new conceptual and methodological approaches relating to the international dimensions of authoritarian regimes. In 2015, IDCAR’s second network conference was held in Austin, Texas and focused on ‘Regional Clusters of Authoritarian Diffusion and Cooperation: Interest vs. Ideology?’.

More: IDCAR Website