Special Issue of Democratization on “Clusters of Authoritarian Diffusion and Cooperation: The Role of Interests vs. Ideology?” published

In December 2017 the journal Democratization published the Special Issue guest-edited by IDCAR’s Steering Committee members André Bank and Kurt Weyland.

The Special Issue includes seven research articles and embraces case studies as well as conceptual articles that were first presented at the Second IDCAR network conference held in October 2015 at the University of Texas at Austin. The issue includes articles written by IDCAR members based across 5 different universities and research centers in Europe and the United States. The authors highlight how patterns of diffusion and cooperation among non-democratic regimes differ in goal, mode, impulse, and scope, stressing the primacy of pragmatic interests over an encompassing ideology in most contemporary regimes.

The issue opens with Kurt Weyland’s introduction juxtaposing self-interest and ideology as driving motivations for authoritarian regimes’ cooperation. Kurt Weyland opens the section of empirical articles with a case study of fascism in Western Europe in the 20th Century to highlight the strong, wide-ranging contagion effects that such ideological forces can harbor. Carlos de la Torre explores the mechanisms employed by Hugo Chavez during the failed attempts at diffusing Bolivarianism across South America. May Darwich’s article deals with the Muslim Brotherhood and the diffusion and non-diffusion of its repression at the intersection of regional and domestic spheres in the Middle East. Finally, Aron Buzogány argues that the democratic regression in Hungary did not result from the adoption of previous Russian policies but was rather a result of aligning mutual interests.

Jason Brownlee then returns to a more abstract, conceptual framework challenging the widely held view that states such as Russia and China subvert democracy by arguing that they instead defend their current political order.

Finally, André Bank’s conclusion summarizes the above discussions of ideological and non-ideological diffusion of authoritarianism and encourages to expand analyses to historical eras to encourage the study of the less abstract, more concrete mechanisms by which authoritarian diffusion and cooperation unfold.