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After RepressionHow Polarization Derails Democratic Transition$
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Elizabeth R. Nugent

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691203058

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691203058.001.0001

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(p.3) 1 Introduction
After Repression

Elizabeth R. Nugent

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides a background of the Arab Spring protests, looking at how the cases of Egypt and Tunisia confirm a central lesson of past transitions: the collapse of an authoritarian regime may trigger a transition, but it does not always lead to successful democratic consolidation. A transition might instead result in reentrenched authoritarianism or any number of revolutionary alternatives. The successful progression from authoritarian breakdown to democratic consolidation is highly contingent on whether elites can compromise and cooperate during the transition, and make the necessary decisions and sacrifices to establish democratic norms and processes. Elite actors' ability to compromise and cooperate in turn depends on the level of polarization among them. This book argues that the political identities of opposition groups are shaped by their experiences of authoritarian repression; these identities in turn determine the levels of political polarization at the moment of transition.

Keywords:   Arab Spring protests, Egypt, Tunisia, democratic transition, authoritarianism, democratic consolidation, elites, polarization, authoritarian repression

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