Topic: Understanding Democratization in the Wake of Non-Violent Resistance

Thesis timeframe:
Application deadline: 22 May 2019


​How can dissident tactics help promote transitions to democracy and democratic consolidation? The extensive extant literature on democratization and uprisings tends to focus on structural factors conducive to democratization or the immediate outcome of campaigns (e.g., the studies end when the dictator steps down) rather than long-term prospects for democracy. It also rarely focuses on movement tactics beyond the binary choice of violence versus non-violence. This stands in stark contrast to testimony of pro-democracy movements, which maintain that a detailed focus on tactics and long-term work after the immediate transition are key to securing a long-term victory. 

Prospective MA students should develop projects that will address this gap by developing theoretical and/or empirical studies of the causal links between tactical choices and long-term prospects for democracy. Projects can focus on the different stages of non-violent pro-democracy campaigns (the initial phase, the time immediately after the dictator is removed, and the long-term phase), but they should speak to the overarching question of what kind of tactical choices promote success, and how this applies to the different stages of a pro-democracy movement.


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