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