Publications on authoritarianism and mobility

Intervention: Extraterritorial authoritarian power

This set of interventions demonstrates three new insights about extraterritorial authoritarian rule. First, authoritarianism should be studied as a mode of governing people through a distinct set of practices, not as a structural regime type entrapped in its national territory. Second, authoritarian governance beyond borders resembles, but differs from authoritarian governance within territorial borders, constraining certain traditional ways of controlling populations (i.e. imprisonment or censorship) but enabling functional equivalents as well as new modes of control. Third, these extraterritorial authoritarian practices to some extend bend and shape socio-political space, successfully transcending the limits of territorial space, legal-jurisdictional space, and physical distance.

Dalmasso, E.; Del Sordi, A; Glasius, M.; Hirt, N; Mohammad, A.S.; Moss, D. (2018). ‘Intervention: Extraterritorial authoritarian power’, Political Geography 64, 95-104.


Extraterritorial authoritarian practices: a framework

The introduction to the Special Issue on ‘Authoritarian rule of populations abroad’ develops a new theory to better understand how authoritarian rule is exercised over populations abroad and to connect this extraterritorial dimension to the character and resilience of contemporary authoritarian rule. The conclusion is that authoritarian rule should not be considered a territorially bounded regime type, but rather as a mode of governing people through a distinct set of practices.

Glasius, M. ( 2018). ‘Extraterritorial authoritarian practices: a framework.’ Globalizations 15(2) 179-197.


Participation without representation: Moroccans abroad at a time of unstable rule

This research identifies a kind of control mechanism and that, despite not being authoritarian in essence, may represent an asset for authoritarian regimes in search of new control tools in a global age. By outlining the political dynamics that took place between the Moroccan authoritarian regime and its population abroad during the 2011 constitutional reform process, this research shows how the creation of a participatory institution, the Council for the Moroccan Community Abroad, provided the regime with a powerful and effective tool of control over Moroccans abroad. More specifically, it demonstrates how, paradoxically, the creation of an emigration-related consultative institution has hindered the possibility of Moroccans abroad to achieve meaningful political participation. This research also investigates the extraterritorial dimension of authoritarian patrimonialism. Fostering clientelistic bond with subjects abroad via the activities of the royal foundations and proactively creating links with European citizens of Moroccan origin who are politically active in their respective countries are prominent parts of this new Moroccan autocratic strategy. Morocco, and in particular the Monarchy, treats its people abroad not as political citizens, but as clients and brokers.

Dalmasso, E. (2018). ‘Participation without representation: Moroccans abroad at a time of unstable authoritarian rule.Globalizations 15(2)198-214.


Sponsoring student mobility for development and authoritarian stability: Kazakhstan’s Bolashak programme.

State-sponsored student mobility is reckoned to be highly beneficial for sending countries, allowing their populations to acquire considerable knowledge and skills without significant costs. Student mobilityis also likely to affect the political system of the sending countries, although these effects may vary. This research investigates whether student mobility has a transformative potential in Kazakhstan and China, not only in the spheres where it is meant to have it (economy, research) but also in the political system. Findings from Kazakhstan confirm that factors such as age, length of stay and quality of social interactions are likely to influence individual change after the experience abroad. As a result, the extent to which new values (including democratic values) are adopted differs greatly from person to person. Moreover, the government seems to be able to use the opportunities created by generously sponsoring studies abroad to reinforce its paternalistic relationship with the citizenship and create a stronger sense of gratitude of loyalty among young people.

Del Sordi, A. (2018). ‘Sponsoring student mobility for development and authoritarian stability: Kazakhstan’s Bolashak programme.’ Globalizations, 15(2) 215-231.


Exit and voice in a digital age: Iran’s exiled activists and the authoritarian state

Increased migration flows and new means of communication put the classic conceptual separation between the options of exit (leaving the country) and voice (articulating dissent) into question. Particularly digital media have given exiled and diaspora dissidents new opportunities to pursue political activism and to maintain contact to people and debates inside their country of origin. Yet the prominent role that digital media play for the communication and activities of exiled activists at the same time exposes them to additional threats. Authoritarian regimes can exploit the transnational and networked communication environment to monitor and respond to the activities of political exiles with significant speed and scope. Using the case of Iran, this project investigates strategies, mechanisms and effects of digitally enabled repression beyond borders.

Michaelsen, M. (2018). ‘Exit and Voice in a Digital Age: Iran’s Exiled Activists and the Authoritarian State.’ Globalizations 15(2) 248-264.


Authoritarian regime stabilization through legitimation, popular co-optation, and exclusion: Russian pasportizatsiya strategies in Crimea

In the spring of 2014, Russian authorities distributed, rapidly and on mass, Russian passports to their newly and controversially acquired citizens within Crimea. This passport distribution strategy, or pasportizatsiya, can be seen as a continuation of the Soviet practice which was conducted to spatially control a population. In focusing on the most contemporary instance of this practice, this paper asks: how and why did pasportizatsiya take place in Crimea? The research involved a processed-focused empirical data collection, consisting of interviews conducted with Crimeans and NGO representatives. The article finds that distribution of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens in Crimea provided the Russian Federation with a regime stabilization mechanism, through the population within their new and controversially acquired territorial borders.

Wrighton, S. ( 2018). ‘Authoritarian regime stabilization through legitimation, popular co-optation, and exclusion: Russian pasportizatsiya strategies in Crimea.’ Globalizations 15(2) 283-300.