Communicating Repression: Studying Official Framing and Its Perception in Autocracies


09.06.2022 - 10.06.2022

Bild Communicating Repression (DFG Workshop)

  • On 9–10 June 2022, a research workshop brought together scholars working on the nexus of legitimation, protest, and repression in autocracies. The workshop was held in the context of the German Research Foundation (DFG)-funded research project “Justifying Repression in Authoritarian Regimes of the Arab World: Official Framing and Target Audiences,” directed by Dr. Maria Josua. At the workshop, cooperation partners and other colleagues working on these topics presented their ongoing research and discussed preliminary findings of the project.  

    Over the course of two days, participants discussed how repressive policies are communicated and justified, especially in the context of popular protests. The mostly qualitatively informed works were marked by a disaggregated understanding of repression, taking into account various actors and dynamics. Further aspects included changing strategies of repression, the discourses of security forces and other actors, the effects of the communication of repression on protests, and international/transnational repressive policies. The main regional focus was on the MENA region, with case studies spanning from the Maghreb to the Persian Gulf, Turkey, and Iran. The inclusion of a study on Nicaragua and input from scholars specialising in other world regions allowed for a comparative perspective and consideration of cross-regional implications. Political communication in autocracies and the complex entanglement of repression and its justification remain an innovative and growing field of research.


    GIGA, Hamburg



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