Discussion papers

New paper published in "Government and Opposition" (online, open access)

Dornschneider-Elkink, S., & Edmonds, B. (2022). Does Non-violent Repression Have Stronger Dampening Effects than State Violence? Insight from an Emotion-Based Model of Non-violent Dissent. Government and Opposition, 1-23. doi:http://doi.org/10.1017/gov.2022.37


The effects of repression on dissent are debated widely. We contribute to the debate by developing an agent-based model grounded in ethnographic interviews with dissidents. Building on new psychology research, the model integrates emotions as a dynamic context of dissent. The model moreover differentiates between four repression types: violence, street blockages, curfews and Facebook cuts. The simulations identify short-term dampening effects of each repression type, with a maximum effect related to non-violent forms of repression. The simulations also show long-term spurring effects, which are most strongly associated with state violence. In addition, the simulations identify nonlinear short-term spurring effects of state violence on early stage dissent. Such effects are not observed for the remaining repressive measures. Contrasting with arguments that violence deters dissent, this suggests that violence may fuel dissent, while non-violent repression might suppress it.