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Running Uphill: Political Opportunity in Non-democracies

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

This study analyzes twenty-four cases of occurrence/non-occurrence of mobilization in non-democratic states to determine conditions of political opportunity in high-risk authoritarian contexts. Ragin's (1987) Boolean method of qualitative comparison (QCA 3.0) is used to identify specific configurations of conditions that constitute political opportunity in non-democracies.

We find that political opportunity is sensitive to conditions created by divided elites, changes in repression, media access, influential allies, and social networks. Our analysis identifies four configurations that create an opening for mobilization under authoritarian conditions. The key factors, identified by QCA in the most parsimonious model, are media access and social networks. These two factors are sufficient conditions for producing mobilization in non-democratic states.


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