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“Guilt by Association: Do Dissident Allies Undermine Public Support for Land Protests in Authoritarian Regimes” by Paul Schuler and Mai Truong

July 8, 2020 @ 9:00 am 10:00 am JST

[Paper]

Authors: Paul Schuler (University of Arizona) and Mai Truong (University of Arizona)

Abstract: How do dissident allies affect public support for land protests in authoritarian regimes? A robust literature suggests that land protesters often engage in “boundary spanning” techniques such as “rightful resistance”, where protesters try to win support by explicitly expressing support for the regime. Despite extensive theoretical literature on these techniques, we know little about how they impact public support. Some empirical research suggests that violence undermines public support. However, nonviolence is only one component of rightful resistance. The other component is the pro-regime framing. In particular, does an anti-regime, pro-democracy message reduce support? We theorize that an anti-regime framing will undermine support for land protests. Using an original Internet based survey experiment from Vietnam, we show that dissident endorsements with a radical message reduces support for land protests. These findings have important implications for the challenges land protesters have in attracting attention for their movements without sparking a public backlash.

Discussants: Dawn Brancati (Yale), Yesola Kweon (Utah State), and Yao Li (Florida), and Carlyle A. Thayer (UNSW).

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