Adverse Repression and Social Transformation: A Political Process Model

By Alexei Anisin.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies

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When civilians rebel against their establishment; the state responds with its security forces, police, and other organs in attempt to quarrel public dissent. In some cases, repressive state response backfires on a given government and puts it in a much worse political position than before. This has been referred to as political jiu-jitsu, or backfire, by nonviolence scholars. It empirically occurs when nonviolent civilian uprisings meet aggressive state forces that publicly exert physical action against this nonviolent actor. In the most dramatic of cases, repression may trigger a process that dislocates state hegemony by revealing antagonistic relationships between ruler and subject, often leading to general political crises. In this paper a political process model is presented based around discourse theoretic explanatory concepts to help explain how this phenomenon transpires across a variety of historical contexts and communicational eras. The model involves the triggering of discursively rooted mechanisms, public outrage, and viral effects which elucidate the dynamics and theoretical aspects behind repression backfire in a differing method than previous frameworks offered by conflict scholars.

Keywords: Backfire, Processes, Social Movements, Mechanisms, Nonviolence, Discourse Theory

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies, Volume 8, Issue 2, December 2014, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 365.173KB).

Alexei Anisin

PhD Student, Department of Government, University of Essex, Colchester, UK

My general research interests lie within the Philosophy of Social Science and Post Structrualism. Operating out of the Essex Ideology and Discourse Analysis school, I am interested in expanding this school’s methodological capabilities by bridging the gap with various sociological and formal theory literatures. My current research is centered on the exploration of causal mechanisms and their relation to historical epochs. I am interested in the ways we as social analysts should conduct empirical inquiry while at the same time produce theory on the big questions in political science. Critical policy studies are another sector in which I have deep interest in. Specifically, I plan on implementing the newly constructed ‘Phronesis’ paradigm and it’s concept of ‘tension points’ to certain areas of policy such as state response to major conflict (Flyvbjerg et al 2012). My future plans also include construction of theory followed by comparative quantitative study of vote buying in East Asia and Latin America.