Maria Josua

Justifications of Repression in Autocracies: An Empirical Analysis of the Maghreb, 2000–2010

GIGA Working Papers | 2022

  • Abstract

    Previous studies on the justification of repression have analysed large-scale protests, about which autocratic officials communicate to avoid backlash effects. However, we know much less about how everyday repression against dissidents and ordinary citizens is communicated and justified under authoritarianism. This paper is the first to systematically investigate how officials in autocracies justify, conceal, or deny different forms of repression employed by different state institutions. It studies the communication of repression in two North African autocracies, drawing on the novel Justifications of Repressive Incidents in Morocco and Tunisia Dataset. The dataset contains 439 events between 2000–2010 and disaggregates the various dimensions of repression and its communication. The empirical analysis shows that the chosen forms of repression influence patterns of communication and justification. Studying the communication of repression helps us better understand the nexus of authoritarian legitimation and political violence in the Middle East and North Africa region and beyond.


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    German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)



    GIGA Focus Middle East | 4/2023

    Tunisia’s Autocratisation under President Kais Saied

    After the Arab uprisings, Tunisia would emerge as the only Arab democracy. President Kais Saied’s July 2021 coup has, however, led to the autocratisation of the state. This GIGA Focus traces Saied’s base of support, his strategies, and rhetoric, as well as their implications for Tunisia’s future.

    #ShrinkingSpaces: Freiheit und Zivilgesellschaft unter Druck. Die aktuelle Situation in Tunesien

    Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom | 30/03/2023

    #ShrinkingSpaces: Freiheit und Zivilgesellschaft unter Druck. Die aktuelle Situation in Tunesien

    Organiser: Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Dr. Maria Josua (Consultant)

    At a virtual lunch talk, Maria Josua discussed with IMES associate Kressen Thyen and the head of the Naumann foundation's Tunis office Alexander Knipperts how and why the political situation in Tunisia has evolved since the Arab uprisings. They reflected on options to strengthen civil society during the current phase of autocratization.


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