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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Authoritarian states restrict democratic freedoms and rely on violence and preemptive surveillance to repress political dissent and collective action. This chapter considers the key elements of authoritarian regimes, their variations, and how social movements adapt to their constrained and less open environments. It applies recent theoretical trends to the dynamics of state-movement interaction in repressive contexts. It reviews recent research trends to suggest a fine-grained approach to the strategic interaction among various state actors, ranging from political elites, economic elites, different levels of state security apparatus, and local vigilantes and thugs. How these relate to the diverse activist groups is a main focus of the strategic field of play. The concept of the repressive repertoire is introduced to describe the unique early patterns of collective action characteristic of repressive contexts. The chapter closes by reviewing the process of repertoire transition.

Keywords: authoritarianism, totalitarianism, sultanism, repertoire of contention, repressive repertoire, repertoire transition, dynamics of contention, free spaces, state capacity, social control

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