Christian Davenport

Christian Davenport
University of Michigan | U-M · Department of Political Science

PhD

About

92
Publications
49,883
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Introduction
Christian Davenport is the Walgreen Professor ibitra Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan as well as a Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). Primary research interests include political conflict (e.g., human rights violations, genocide/politicide, torture, political surveillance, civil war and social movements), peace, measurement, racism and popular culture. For more information, see www.christiandavenport.com.
Additional affiliations
June 2015 - present
Peace Research Institute Oslo
Position
  • Professor
August 2012 - present
University of Michigan
Position
  • Professor
August 2010 - May 2012
University of Notre Dame
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (92)
Article
The legacies of racial violence are generally understudied and thus not well understood. Extant academic work on the topic generally focuses on a specific form of contention like war or rebellion as well as specific consequences like economic development or voting. I use insights from a global evaluation of the political and economic consequences o...
Article
Scholars of political violence often face problems concerning data availability. Research on the perpetrators of that violence is no exception. Over the past 40 years we have made great strides in understanding who joins in violent action and why, yet have rarely probed the representative nature of the subjects queried or contemplated the implicati...
Article
Most investigations of state repression presume a unitary state actor, but this assumption might not always be reasonable and, indeed, it might be hindering our ability to understand what is taking place as well as why. For example, it may be that certain perpetrators are engaged in more activities than others or that specific ones engage in the mo...
Article
Researchers today have access to an unprecedented amount of geo-referenced, disaggregated data on political conflict. Because these new data sources use disparate event typologies and units of analysis, findings are rarely comparable across studies. As a result, we are unable to answer basic questions like ‘what does conflict A tell us about confli...
Article
What are the political and economic consequences of contention (i.e., genocide, civil war, state repression/human rights violation, terrorism, and protest)? Despite a significant amount of interest as well as quantitative research, the literature on this subject remains underdeveloped and imbalanced across topic areas. To date, investigations have...
Chapter
This chapter assesses the role of race in public perception of the need for accountability in cases of police abuse during protests in the United States. It finds that when protesters are black and police are white, African Americans are less likely to blame protesters, and when protesters are black and police are white, whites are less likely to b...
Article
An emerging consensus holds that achieving successful counter-movement outcomes requires combining overt repression (e.g. raids, arrests, and targeted assassination) with covert repression (e.g. monitoring, agents provocateurs, and wiretapping). Research in this article disputes the presumed complementarity between overt and covert repressive tacti...
Book
The idea of studying peace-rather than studying war, genocide, and political violence and then inferring about peace-has gained considerable traction in the past few years, after languishing in the shadows of conflict studies for decades. But how should peace be studied? The book offers a parallax view of how we think about peace and the complexiti...
Article
Full-text available
Contentious Politics in the Trump Era - Charles Crabtree, Christian Davenport, Erica Chenoweth, Dana M. Moss, Jennifer Earl, Emily Hencken Ritter, Christopher Sullivan
Article
How does repression influence backlash (i.e., challenges against political authorities that follow acts of government coercion)? This study argues that to adequately study backlash, it is necessary to analytically open up a social movement and examine why specific individuals in the same movement organization increase their participation following...
Preprint
The events of Abu Ghraib exposed politicians, journalists, military and law enforcement personnel, NGOs, activists and ordinary citizens to the potential brutality of state repression. Many were left stunned that the agents of a liberal democracy would perpetrate such horrific acts against individuals in the state's control. Such shock makes sense...
Article
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Diverse in many respects, one unifying element of research on transitional justice (TJ) concerns the fact that predicted outcomes of these processes are normatively appealing; specifically, advocates argue TJ promotes truth and reconciliation, prevents armed conflict and increases democratization. This perspective further assumes that justice effor...
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This article describes and analyzes patterns of lethal violence in Darfur, Sudan, during 2008-09, drawing upon a uniquely detailed dataset generated by the United Nations-African Union hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), combined with data generated through aggregation of reports from open-source venues. These data enable detailed analysis of patt...
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In recent years the study of conflict has increasingly focused on the analysis of violence at the sub-national level. Despite many advances, these efforts have been unable to address key questions within the literature including inquires concerning the dynamic interactions between governments and challengers- the conflict-repression nexus. In this...
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While the call to “Never Again” allow political authorities to commit gross human rights abuses against those within their territorial jurisdiction is frequently heralded as one of the most important tasks left for humankind (following World War II), essentially little effort has been made to rigorously examine how to stop state repression once it...
Book
How do social movements die? Some explanations highlight internal factors like factionalization, whereas others stress external factors like repression. Christian Davenport offers an alternative explanation where both factors interact. Drawing on organizational, as well as individual-level, explanations, Davenport argues that social movement death...
Chapter
As Christine Bell writes in her 2009 overview of the field of transitional justice (TJ), it is unclear whether in practice transitional justice is “‘good’ (an extension of human rights discourse, or necessary for democratization or peace), ‘bad’ (imperialist, hegemonic, impunity serving or promoting a dangerous legal exceptionalism) or a value-neut...
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It is generally acknowledged that large youth cohorts or “youth bulges” make countries more susceptible to antistate political violence. Thus, we assume that governments are forewarned about the political demographic threat that a youth bulge represents to the status quo and will attempt to preempt behavioral challenges by engaging in repression. A...
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There are a great number of outcomes for activism that are examined in the literature, but we know relatively little about how this behavior influences perceptions of the phenomena being challenged. It is possible that when one challenges some phenomenon, one begins to ‘see’ it more. Alternatively, activism might focus awareness on only certain man...
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Researchers have been exploring government repressive behavior for decades, but the greatest improvements have come in the last two. For example, greater theoretical specification has allowed us to determine a great deal about what repression is and why it occurs, while greater methodological sophistication has allowed us to test these theories rig...
Article
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After 40 years, we still know very little about how state repression influences political dissent. In fact, to date, every possible relationship, including no influence, has been found. We argue that part of the problem concerns the current practice of treating every repressive event as if it were substantively equivalent, differentiated only by sc...
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According to forty years worth of research, dissent always increases repression whereas state repression has varied influences on dissident activity. If the outcome of government action is uncertain, however, the question remains: why would authorities continue to apply repression? Addressing this “puzzle of coercive persistence,” we explore divers...
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Existing research, social movements, nongovernmental organizations, and many national governments herald democracy as a, or perhaps the, resolution to state repression. Interestingly, very little attention has been given to the topic of when democracies kill their citizens for political reasons. Drawing upon insights derived from research in three...
Article
Crimes of Dissent: Civil Disobedience, Criminal Justice, and the Politics of Conscience. By LovellJarrett. New York: New York University Press, 2009. 239p. $75.00 cloth, $23.00 paper. - Volume 9 Issue 3 - Christian Davenport
Article
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How does the race of protesters affect how police respond to protest events? Drawing on the protest policing literature and on theories of race and ethnic relations, we explore the idea that police view African American protesters as especially threatening and that this threat leads to a greater probability of policing. We examine more than 15,000...
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Christian Davenport is professor sociology and political science at the University of Notre Dame and professor of peace studies at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. His research interests include political conflict (from genocide to domestic spying), measurement, and racism, and he is the author of State Repression and the...
Article
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To date, the tools used to assessthe status of untouchability have been divided by discipline—human rights, legal and social science. Although significant contributions toward understanding untouchability have been made in each of these areas, it is difficult to comprehend the scope and pervasiveness of the problem without combining the tools of...
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Charles Tilly wrote a great deal about a greater number of topics – includ-ing state repression. While he wrote about repressive behavior quite fre-quently and, many respects, it served as a central element of his work, in-terestingly it was never a topic of interest in and of itself. Instead, it sat like a pillar around which he would ground discu...
Article
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Most scholars of social movements agree that since the 1960s protest policing in the United States has decreased in severity. Yet this characterization rims counter to sociolegal arguments that virtually all forms of state social control have become more forceful. We maintain that both of these arguments obfuscate what is really of essence to polic...
Article
Full-text available
Most scholars of social movements agree that since the 1960s protest policing in the United States has decreased in severity. Yet this characterization runs counter to sociolegal arguments that virtually all forms of state social control have become more forceful. We maintain that both of these arguments obfuscate what is really of essence to polic...
Article
This book examines information reported within the media regarding the interaction between the Black Panther Party and government agents in the Bay Area of California (1967-1973). Christian Davenport argues that the geographic locale and political orientation of the newspaper influences how specific details are reported, including who starts and en...
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I have left international studies a thousand times in the last 15 years—in protest, in disgust, in disappointment. I have come back each time to change things in the field and discipline as well as to explore the topics that have fascinated me. Equally as important, however, I have felt that international studies has left me a 1,001 times—perhaps a...
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Recent analyses of civil war have suggested that these events grow out of lower-level conflict dynamics involving state repression and political dissent. Unfortunately, existing work has either indirectly measured escalation or considered only one argument in isolation of others. Examining 149 countries from 1976 to 1999, we develop new measurement...
Article
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State repression includes harassment, surveillance/spying, bans, arrests, torture, and mass killing by government agents and/or affiliates within their territorial jurisdiction. Over the past 40 years, the systematic study of state repression has grown considerably. The development of this work, however, has been uneven. Though unified in their foc...
Article
Full-text available
The events of Abu Ghraib exposed politicians, journalists, military and law enforcement personnel, NGOs, activists and ordinary citizens to the potential brutality of state repression. Many were left stunned that the agents of a liberal democracy would perpetrate such horrific acts against individuals in the state's control. Such shock makes sense...
Article
Full-text available
Existing literature on state repression generally ignores the diversity that exists within autocracies. At present, different political systems are collapsed together, leaving unique approaches to political order unexamined. This limitation is important for policymakers, activists, and everyday citizens around the world seeking new ways to reduce g...
Book
Does democracy reduce state repression as human rights activism, funding, and policy suggest? What are the limitations of this argument? Investigating 137 countries from 1976 to 1996, State Repression and the Domestic Democratic Peace seeks to shed light on these questions. Specifically, it finds that electoral participation and competition general...
Article
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For forty years research has supported the claim that political democracy decreases state repression – the socalled “domestic democratic peace.” This work has not only generated scholarly attention but it is now the cornerstone of President George W. Bush’s “War against Tyranny.” Several weaknesses exist within prior literature, however, which lead...
Article
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Although overt repression has been studied extensively (e.g., mass arrests), there have been no rigorous investigations of covert repressive action (CRA; e.g., electronic and physical surveillance). To better understand the latter behavior, the author uses newdata about U.S. domestic intelligence activity directed against a Black Nationalist organi...
Article
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Democracy and democratization have long been heralded as resolutions to coercive governance, but there are at least two ways in which they can influence state repressive activity. In one, both killing and restriction are reduced (i.e., behavior is “pacified”); in another, killing is diminished while political restrictions are continued (i.e., behav...
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Most studies posit and identify a linear and negative relationship between democracy and the violation of human rights. Some research challenges this finding, however, suggesting that nonlinear influences exist. Within this article, we examine the structure of the relationship between democracy and repression during the time period from 1976 to 199...
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Abstract Existing literature stresses that civil wars are contingent on unusual or irregular external circumstances that produce major ruptures from conventional politics. We argue that civil wars are inherent to the process of contentious politics, always one potential outcome of the power struggle between regimes and oppositions. This paper makes...
Article
In this study we explore why persons flee their homes to become refugees and inter-nally displaced persons. We contend that individuals will tend to flee when the in-tegrity of their person is threatened. Further, we argue that they will flee toward countries where they expect conditions to be better. We conduct statistical analyses using fixed eff...
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Davis (MEoS). While not guilty of any of mistakes or limitations contained within the paper, these individuals have pushed us to improve the research in several ways and thus we owe them a large debt. There is still some work to be done with the paper however and any comments would be welcome. RASHOMON AND REPRESSION RASHOMON AND REPRESSION: A MULT...
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To investigate the implications of source selection, three different sources regarding Guatemalan state terror are compared: newspapers, human rights documents, and interviews with eyewitnesses. Results show that each source pays attention to diverse types and aspects of repression in line with the objectives of the observer, the characteristics of...
Article
This article explores whether and how state repression is influenced by a social movement organization's rhetoric; and, conversely, if dissident rhetoric is responsive to authorities' repressive efforts. These relationships are examined with data generated from several newspapers within the Bay area, across 253 weeks from 1969 to 1973, concerning r...
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Inglehart's postmaterialism thesis describes an individual-level process of value change. Little attention has been devoted to validating rite responses to his postmaterialist-materialist index. The aggregate-level distributions may appear to reflect a postmaterialist-materialist dimension, even if at the individual level res,responses on the quest...
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This essay documents the challenges of field/archival research confronted during our investigation of the Black Panther Party, from 1967 to 1973. The lack of comprehensive analysis on the Party within the literature on social movements makes the contributions of our research effort important for understanding of black social movements, particularly...
Article
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Autocratization is expected to worsen human rights conditions; democratization is frequently heralded as a means for improving them. Unfortunately, neither relationship has been subjected to empirical investigation. The causal linkage between regime change and state repression is examined in the current study with a pooled cross-sectional time-seri...
Article
Objective. National elections have long been viewed as important "politicizing" events, intricately connected with the process of democratization. Varying opinions have been put forth within the literature, however, as to what national elections do to citizens' rights. Some authors suggest that national elections increase respect for citizens' poli...
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This paper explores the complex relationship between national elections and repression (specifically instances of censorship and political restrictions). I do this while controlling for different contextual effects (various system types), different units of analysis (yearly as well as monthly data), and different types of relationships (lagged as w...
Article
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Typically, the political and ideological foundations of media-related events hold little significance for the alteration of political attitudes and behavior. But this weak relationship may be attributed to weak stimuli, and the influence of different media events is likely to be dependent upon the strength with which certain political attitudes and...
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I investigate whether or not national constitutions provide any insight into when states use political repression. Specifically, three constitutional provisions are identified: (1) what political and civil rights are mentioned explicitly, (2) what emergency powers are mentioned, and (3) what restrictions are placed on these two factors. I then exam...
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The present article investigates contemporaneous and lagged effects of de mocracy, coercive capacity, and political conflict on repressive behavior. As designed, 51 countries from 1948 to 1982 are examined with an Almon distributed lag model on yearly data (N =1820). From the empirical inves tigation, both short- and long-term relationships are fou...
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Theory: Regimes respond to domestic threats with political repression. The precise nature of the domestic threat itself, however, is subject to discussion. Hypothesis: State repression is a function of either a unidimensional conception of domestic threats (i.e., where there is one attribute of political conflict considered by the regime) or one th...
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This study examines the manner and the extent to which the social sciences are prepared to address large scale, long term historical change. Particularly, the American Political Science Review and the American Sociological Review are subjected to a content analysis with regards to their analyses of the Vietnamese war and the Black uprisings of the...
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This study investigates factors that enhance criminal behavior. Typically, explanations for increasing crime rates discuss various familial and community attributes; i.e., single parent households and poverty rates. When crime has increased, these attributes are cited as being responsible. This we believe is an incorrect assumption. In particular,...
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U.S. capitalism has been evolving in quite fundamental ways during the past twenty years. One school of analysis has detected the emergence of a post-industrial, high-technology information economy, while another has emphasized the ascendancy of finance, real estate, and speculative capital. Several studies have pointed to the declining role of ind...
Article
Full-text available
Recent analyses of civil war have suggested that these events grow out of lower-level conflict dynamics involving state repression and political dissent. Unfortunately, this work has been unable to distinguish between rival explanations because it relies upon relatively indirect proxy measures to operationalize explanatory variables. Examining 149...
Article
Full-text available
Although overt repression has been studied extensively (e.g., mass arrests), there have been no rigorous investigations of covert repressive action (CRA; e.g., electronic and physical surveillance). To better under-stand the latter behavior, the author uses new data about U.S. domestic intelligence activity directed against a Black Nationalist orga...

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