Maria Josua

Justifications of Repression in Autocracies: An Empirical Analysis of Morocco and Tunisia, 2000–2010

Contemporary Politics | 2024

  • Abstract

    How do autocrats communicate about repression? Previous studies have analysed how autocratic officials justify the repression of large-scale protests 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 repression employed by different state actors. It studies the communication of repression in two North African autocracies by analysing the novel Justifications of Repressive Incidents in Morocco and Tunisia Dataset (JuRI). The event dataset contains 439 instances of repression between 2000 and 2010 and disaggregates various dimensions of repression and its communication. The empirical analysis shows how the chosen forms of repression influence ensuing patterns of communication and justification. Studying the communication of repression helps us better understand the nexus of legitimation, judicial repression and political violence in autocracies.


    Contemporary Politics







    GIGA Event | 09/06/2022 - 10/06/2022

    Communicating Repression: Studying Official Framing and Its Perception in Autocracies

    Communicating Repression: Studying Official Framing and Its Perception in Autocracies, GIGA, Hamburg Organisers: German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) Dr. Maria Josua (Organiser)

    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 DFG-funded research project “Justifying Repression in Authoritarian Regimes of the Arab World: Official Framing and Target Audiences."


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