Providing vital new insights into the ways repression shapes polarisation, After Repression helps to explain what happened in the turbulent days following the Arab Spring and illuminates the obstacles to democratic transitions around the world.
In the wake of the Arab Spring, newly empowered factions in Tunisia and Egypt vowed to work together to establish democracy. In Tunisia, political elites passed a new constitution, held parliamentary elections, and demonstrated the strength of their democracy with a peaceful transfer of power. Yet in Egypt, unity crumbled due to polarisation among elites. Presenting a new theory of polarisation under authoritarianism, After Repression reveals how polarisation and the legacies of repression led to these substantially divergent political outcomes.
Drawing on original interviews and a wealth of new historical data, Elizabeth Nugent documents polarisation among the opposition in Tunisia and Egypt prior to the Arab Spring, tracing how different kinds of repression influenced the bonds between opposition groups. She demonstrates how widespread repression created shared political identities and decreased polarisation - such as in Tunisia - while targeted repression like that carried out against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt led opposition groups to build distinct identities that increased polarisation among them. This helps explain why elites in Tunisia were able to compromise, cooperate, and continue on the path to democratic consolidation while deeply polarized elites in Egypt contributed to the rapid reentrenchment of authoritarianism.
'In this spectacular book on the psychological legacies of repression, Elizabeth Nugent marshals a breathtaking combination of observational and experimental evidence from North Africa to explain why some fledgling democracies are able to transcend discord and cement participatory politics while in others, pitched ideological battles yield authoritarian renewal. A towering achievement and a vital contribution to the comparative study of democratization.' - Tarek Masoud, Harvard University 'Elizabeth Nugent has written an instant classic. Scholars of democratic transitions will no longer be able to downplay the importance of either repressive legacies or psychological mechanisms after reading Nugent's impressive account.' - Dan Slater, University of Michigan 'Compelling. Nugent delves deeply into the microfoundations of regime transitions, presenting a novel and important theory about the enduring effects of repression under authoritarian rule on the outcomes of democratic transitions.' - Melani Cammett, author of Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon 'After Repression provides an original and persuasive argument about how repressive strategies under dictatorship affect politics and stability after democratic transitions. This excellent book has important big-picture implications for thinking about the stability of new democracies.' - Rory Truex, author of Making Autocracy Work: Representation and Responsiveness in Modern China