Project

Nonviolent Resistance and Democratic Consolidation

Goal: The aims of the project are twofolded: A quantative study tries to answer the question if the nature of resistance (i.e. either armed or nonviolent) influences the quality of post-struggle democracy. Furthermore, qualitative case studies aim to identify the causal mechanisms through which nonviolent resistance - in contrast to violent resistance and top down transitions - transmits its effects even after more than a decade of democratic consolidation.

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Project log

Daniel Lambach
added 6 research items
This chapter summarizes our findings from previous chapters and connects them to debates about democratic crisis in the West and elsewhere. Our case studies show that maintaining democracy is an ongoing process and that democracy needs active citizens to mobilize in its defence. Crucially, democracies are more resilient than they sometimes get credit for—to some degree, dissent and conflict are elements of, not threats to democracy. But democracy needs a new vision that speaks to citizens who feel commoditized and alienated in a globalized economy without slipping into populist rhetoric. Our research might provide some inspiration for such a vision based on the empowerment of an active and engaged citizenry.
Comparing cases of democracies induced by nonviolent resistance (NVR) with democracies which were installed through other means, this chapter finds that the former are much more resilient than the latter. NVR-induced democrackies, on average, survive longer, are more likely to pass the two-turnover test of democratic consolidation, and score higher on key indicators of democratic quality. These results are robust to different model specifications and to alternative measurements of democratic transition. This supports our argument about the path-dependent effect of NVR that the mode of transition determines the trajectories of democratic transition and its subsequent consolidation.
‘At a time when authoritarianism is resurgent and democracy is under threat globally, this timely book shines a light on a critical but underappreciated driver of democratization: ordinary citizens.’ —Maria J. Stephan, Director, Program on Nonviolent Action, USIP, USA. ‘This insightful book is essential reading for all interested in democratization in the aftermath of conflict and how mobilization can affect how institutions evolve.’ —Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, Professor, University of Essex, UK. ‘This is an essential contribution to a fascinating interdisciplinary field which shows that unarmed resistance movements facilitate the emergence of democracy.’ — Stellan Vinthagen, Chair and Professor of Sociology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA. This book argues that democracies emerging from peaceful protest last longer, achieve higher levels of democratic quality, and are more likely to see at least two peaceful handovers of power than democracies that emerged out of violent resistance or top-down liberalization. Nonviolent resistance is not just an effective means of deposing dictators; it can also help consolidate democracy after the transition from autocratic rule. Drawing on case studies on democratic consolidation in Africa and Latin America, the authors find that nonviolent resistance creates a more inclusive transition process that is more resistant to democratic breakdown in the long term. Daniel Lambach is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Goethe University, Germany. Markus Bayer is Research Fellow at University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Felix S. Bethke is Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Germany. Matteo Dressler is Researcher at the Flemish Peace Institute, Belgium. Véronique Dudouet is Programme Director at Berghof Foundation, Germany.
Daniel Lambach
added an update
As the project is drawing to a close, we are hard at work on the monograph. Two chapters exist as drafts, another two are in the works, and the final two will follow suit. We hope to finalize the manuscript by the summer and are talking to potential publishers now.
 
Daniel Lambach
added a research item
Das Projekt untersucht die langfristigen Effekte unterschiedlicher Transitionsmodi (friedlicher und ge-waltsamer Widerstand bzw. ohne vorhergehende Mas-senmobilisierung) auf demokratische Konsolidierung. Das Projekt zielt darauf ab diese Effekte quantitativ genauer zu erforschen und zugleich qualitativ die Mechanismen zwischen friedlichem Widerstand und demokratischer Konsolidierung anhand ausgewählter Fälle in Afrika und Lateinamerika näher zu untersuchen. Das Projekt kombiniert quantitative und qualitative Me-thoden, um sowohl die allgemeinen Zusammenhänge zwischen gewaltlosem Widerstand und demokratischer Konsolidierung zu analysieren als auch die Mecha-nismen zu verstehen, die diese kausalen Effekte hervor-bringen. Im Fokus dabei stehen die Verweildauer und die Qualität demokratischer Regime. Für die qualitative Studie wurden sechs Demokratien identifiziert, die einen gewissen Konsolidierungsgrad erreicht haben und von denen jeweils zwei durch gewaltlosen Widerstand, durch gewaltsamen Wider-stand und ohne Widerstandsbewegung zustande ge-kommen sind. Projekt am Forschungshypothesen Haupthypothese: Eine durch gewaltlosen Widerstand entstandene Demokratie hat bessere Konsolidierungs-chancen als Demokratien, die auf anderem Wege ent-standen sind. Wir gehen davon aus, dass eine gewaltlose Massenmo-bilisierung mehrere pfadabhängige kausale Prozesse in Gang setzt, die eine Demokratie mittel-und langfristig stabilisieren.
Markus Bayer
added a research item
Nonviolent resistance against autocratic regimes tends to have a democratic dividend. Resulting democracies have proven more inclusive and stable than their competitors coming about by violent means or by top-down liberalization. However, to date, we know little about the mechanisms that seem to link both phenomena, nonviolent resistance and democratic consolidation. Using explorative process tracing, the paper analyzes the case of the lesser known, so-called 'Renouveau Démocratique', the peaceful transition in Benin in 1989. The results show that the nonviolent resistance in Benin led to the establishment of an inclusive national conference, which became the founding narrative for the new democracy and stabilizes the democratic institutions. The founding narrative also led to an active civil society that till today takes its role as watchdog seriously whenever the political elites tend to deviate from the democratic path. However, the example of Benin also shows that democratization without economic development has some severe limitations. The democratic quality suffers from the persistent culture of patronage and corruption, endangering the democratic spirit and preventing the institutionalization of civic democratic institutions.
Daniel Lambach
added an update
We had a productive meeting with our partners Véronique Dudouet and Matteo Dressler from the Berghof Foundation in Berlin. Now that (almost) all of the interviews are transcribed and the case studies concluded, we'll focus our energies on the monograph that will round out the project. Expect to hear more about that in early 2019.
 
F. Bethke
added a research item
Research suggests that nonviolent resistance (NVR) campaigns are more successful in deposing dictators than armed rebellions. However, ousting dictators is only the first step in the process of democratization. After deposing an autocratic regime, societies enter a transition phase where they must learn to consolidate the gains of democracy and bargain about the new rules of the democratic regime. But even if free, fair, and competitive elections are held, which indicate a successful transition to democratic rule, uncertainty about its stability remains salient. In the period that follows, democracy either survives and proves to be resilient, or an autocratic backslide occurs. In this article, we analyze the effect of NVR campaigns on the survival of democratic regimes. Building on the literature on modes of transitions and nonviolent resistance, we argue that those democratic regimes that come into being as a result of a NVR campaign are less prone to democratic breakdown. The main mechanism which produces this effect is that the organizational culture of NVR campaigns spills over to the subsequent democratic regime fostering conditions favorable for democratic survival. We test the effect of NVR campaigns on democratic regime survival using survival analysis and propensity score matching. The results show that democratic regimes that experience NVR during the transition phase survive substantially longer than regimes without NVR.
Markus Bayer
added 2 research items
Research suggests that nonviolent resistance (NVR) campaigns are more successful in deposing dictators than armed rebellions. However, ousting dictators is only the first step in the process of democratization. After deposing an autocratic regime, societies enter a transition phase where they must learn to consolidate the gains of democracy and bargain about the new rules of the democratic regime. But even if free, fair, and competitive elections are held, indicating a successful transition to democratic rule, uncertainty about its stability remains salient. In the period that follows, either democracy survives and proves to be resilient, or an autocratic backslide occurs. In this article, we analyze the effect of NVR campaigns on the survival of democratic regimes. Building on the literature on modes of transitions and nonviolent resistance, we argue that those democratic regimes that come into being as a result of a NVR campaign are less prone to democratic breakdown. The main mechanism which produces this effect is that the organizational culture of NVR campaigns spills over to the subsequent democratic regime fostering conditions favorable for democratic survival. We test the effect of NVR campaigns on democratic regime survival using survival analysis and propensity score matching. The results show that democratic regimes that experience NVR during the transition phase survive substantially longer than regimes without NVR.
This article analyses economies of entitlement after violent conflicts and the challenges for post-conflict peacebuilding and democratic transition arising from them. Based on two case studies of post-genocide Rwanda and post-independence Namibia, the study shows that entitlement claims premised on heroism or victimhood are important phenomena after political violence that confront peacebuilding efforts with serious dilemmas. Examining the psychological roots of entitlement and their manifestations in the wake of political violence, this article argues that entitlements targeting only particular groups of victims or heroes challenge democratic principles such as equality and citizenship and, eventually, undermine peace and social justice. The contribution tries to enrich the peacebuilding debate by, first, considering feelings of entitlement as an element of post-conflict dynamics, second, introducing the ‘hero’ as important actor in post-conflict settings, and third, discussing some effects of the rise of victimhood as core category in internationalised post-conflict contexts.
Markus Bayer
added a project reference
Markus Bayer
added a project goal
The aims of the project are twofolded: A quantative study tries to answer the question if the nature of resistance (i.e. either armed or nonviolent) influences the quality of post-struggle democracy. Furthermore, qualitative case studies aim to identify the causal mechanisms through which nonviolent resistance - in contrast to violent resistance and top down transitions - transmits its effects even after more than a decade of democratic consolidation.