On 16–18 May 2018, the concluding IDCAR Network Conference (IDCAR-5) was held at the GIGA in Hamburg. With 24 scholars from eleven academic institutions in attendance, the conference provided a forum to reflect on the network’s four years of work as well as to look ahead and identify future avenues in the field of authoritarian research.
André Bank, speaker of the IDCAR network, opened the conference with a review of the network’s activities and its researchers’ accomplishments. The subsequent presentations outlined the results of projects supported by IDCAR seed grants on new directions in authoritarianism research in Africa, the post-Soviet space, and beyond. Various members of the network also presented their research findings on, among other things, Arab citizens’ perceptions of the EU, authoritarian gravity centres in Latin America and the Middle East, and the alliance options of authoritarian regimes. The participants also engaged in fruitful discussions on new avenues for research using innovative data, such as the importance of state visits as a measurement of authoritarian linkages, and took into consideration recent conceptual and political developments such as the relevance and effects of international sanctions. The conference concluded with a public round table on the future challenges to authoritarianism research.
Overall, the presentations and discussions covered a wide range of topics and geographical areas, with issues from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, and the United States brought to the table. Although the work of the IDCAR network is gradually coming to an end, we are deeply satisfied with the results and excited about the future lines of research that have opened up as a result.