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Legacies of Repression: The Revival of Political Participation in the Shadow of Authoritarian Rule Open Access

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What shapes the dynamics of the revitalization of political participation after the collapse of a long-term authoritarian regime? While much attention has been paid to Communist successor parties in the post-Soviet space, a surprising lack of attention has been given to opposition successor parties and the fate of opposition movements more generally after a regime transition occurs. This dissertation explores how opposition groups that risked life and limb under the authoritarian regime transform -- or fail to transform -- themselves into political actors in the post-authoritarian era, honing in on two processes in particular: party formation and political mobilization. Rather than being highly contingent events, as many scholars of democratic transitions argue, both party formation and electoral mobilization after authoritarian collapse are outcomes rooted in the political opposition structure of the prior authoritarian regime. The way in which the regime structured the political opposition -- who it co-opted, who it controlled, and who it repressed and excluded -- shapes the organizational form of opposition groups, the ideas contested within the system, and the variation in resources possessed by different members of the political opposition. These factors in turn shape the processes of party formation and political mobilization at the point of regime transition. This dissertation utilizes both an in-depth, single case study alongside a structured, focused, cross-regional comparison. The case of Egypt after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak serves as the in-depth case study, employing data gathered through over 100 in-depth field interviews and ethnographic research in Alexandria, Cairo, and the Nile Delta over twelve months in 2012. Cross-regional qualitative comparative analysis utilizes data from further field research in Tunisia in 2013 and the Czech Republic in 2012, and secondary source data on Zambia, Poland, and Brazil. The findings illustrate the counter-intuitive insight that repression, not patronage, can in fact be a political and organizational advantage in post-authoritarian contexts.

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