André Bank / Mirjam Edel

Authoritarian Regime Learning: Comparative Insights from the Arab Uprisings

GIGA Working Paper, No. 274, June 2015

Abstract
This paper examines the learning of authoritarian regimes in the early phase of the Arab uprisings. Differentiating conceptually between learning and policy change, we analyze and compare the authoritarian regimes of Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, and Syria and their reactions to the challenge of "late riser" oppositional protests. We first show that the four regimes initiated very diverse measures in the domains of repression, material co‐optation, and legal reforms. With regard to the sources of learning, we find that proximity is a determining factor, in terms of both geography and political similarity. Using the case of Bahrain, we then demonstrate that structural factors such as internal power structures, regional and international pressures, or state capacity can decisively constrain the implementation of learning‐induced policy change. Overall, the paper aims to contribute to the emerging research on the international dimension of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and beyond.

Related Research at the GIGA

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GIGA Authors

Dr. André Bank

Acting Director of the GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies

Dr. André Bank is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Middle East ­Studies. His research focuses on authoritarianism, conflict dynamics, and forced migration, as well as on knowledge production in the social sciences and area ­studies.

Recent Publications by the Authors

André Bank / Kurt Weyland (eds.)

Authoritarian Diffusion and Cooperation: Interests vs. Ideology

London: Routledge, 2018

André Bank / Christiane Fröhlich

Forced Migration in the Global South: Reorienting the Debate

GIGA Focus Global, 03/2018

André Bank

Comparative Area Studies and the Study of Middle East Politics after the Arab Uprisings

in: Ariel I. Ahram / Patrick Köllner / Rudra Sil (eds.), Comparative Area Studies: Methodologies Rationales and Cross-Regional Applications, New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, 119-129

André Bank / Maria Josua

More Stable Together: The International Dimensions of Authoritarian Rule

GIGA Focus Global, 02/2017