Public Lecture

Book preview with Kurt Weyland on "Autocratic Waves in Europe and Latin America"

On 15 November Kurt Weyland will present his new book in Berlin at the WZB.

All over the world, authoritarianism seems to be advancing. Developments in Turkey and Venezuela, right-wing populism in Europe, the backlash against the Arab Spring, and the ever growing role of China and Russia on the world stage are cases in point.

What can we learn from previous autocratic waves?

In his new book on autocratic waves in Europe and Latin America, Kurt Weyland examines the diffusion of authoritarian rule in the interwar years and the 1960s and 1970s. Weyland attributes these autocratic waves to an overreaction on the part of conservative circles: Overestimating the Russian and Cuban revolutions, they promoted aggressive authoritarian counter-diffusion strategies. These disproportionate responses to communist challenges reflect core mechanisms of bounded rationality. Inferential shortcuts induce people to overrate the significance of dramatic, vivid events and to draw remarkably firm conclusions from such outstanding occurrences. Accordingly, the radical left overestimated the replicability of the Russian and Cuban Revolutions – but the reactionary right did so as well. As conservatives feared communism, their panic prompted the wave-like adoption of reactionary autocracy – a trajectory differing from the spread of right-wing populism in contemporary democracies.

WZB and IDCAR jointly host this event at the WZB's premises in Berlin at 5.30pm. Alexander Schmotz (WZB) will be the moderator, Bert Hoffmann (GIGA) will give an introduction, Johannes Gerschewski (Humboldt University) will serve as the discussant.

Afterwards, a reception with food and drinks will take place.

Please register until 10 November by following the instructions