Marc Morjé Howard and Meir R. Walters
Dr. Howard is professor of Government and Law at Georgetown University. In addition to numerous journal articles, he is the author of The Weakness of Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe and The Politics of Citizenship in Europe, both published by Cambridge University Press. Mr. Walters is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. From 2012-2013, he was a Fulbright fellow in Egypt. His work has been published in Perspectives on Politics and the Journal of North African Studies. The authors are grateful for valuable suggestions and feedback from Charles King, Hesham Sallam, Lucan Way, and the participants at the Arab Uprisings in Comparative Perspective workshop on November 7, 2014 at George Mason University.
In July 2013, the cover of Time magazine announced that Egypt has both the world's "best protesters" and "worst democrats."1 In the same month, the cover of The Economist asked, "Has the Arab Spring failed?"2 The media oscillated between euphoria over the democratic potential of "Facebook revolutions" and dismissal (or even gloating) when they did not seem to pan out. This response to the Arab uprisings is part of a broader trend. Popular accounts of mass uprisings tend to label them neatly by color (orange, green, rose) or season (spring, winter). They give an oversimplified portrait of mass mobilization as teleological: Protests are "successful" if they quickly bring about a stable democracy, and "failed" if they do not. This is often matched by a fascination over whether protesters are "like us" — by their use of social media, rejection of extremism, embrace of Europe and free markets, or hatred of dictatorship. Indeed, debates about the success or failure of mass uprisings often reflect a problematic obsession with the question of whether protesters are "ready for democracy."
Journalists, policy analysts and (sometimes) academics tend to employ this narrative linking mobilization and democracy. However, it risks obscuring the character of uprisings, the (possibly diverse) goals of participants and the potential impact of uprisings on future power dynamics. Analyzing mass mobilization through the lens of democratization or — the reverse side of the regime coin — "authoritarian persistence," minimizes the importance of how power relations can be reconfigured short of regime change, and how people's everyday relationships with the (still authoritarian) state change after uprisings.
Recent events in Egypt and Ukraine illustrate how this tendency to characterize anti-regime mobilization as democratic can lead to misguided analysis. Both Egypt and Ukraine recently experienced two sets of dramatic protest movements. In Egypt, the first uprising led to the ouster of longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak in February 2011; the second took place in the summer of 2013 and ended with the removal of President Mohamed Morsi through a military coup. In Ukraine, the large-scale protests of 2004-05 prevented Viktor Yanukovych from winning the presidency through an allegedly fraudulent election. Nearly a decade later, after Yanukovych had won the presidency in 2010, another wave of mass mobilization in 2013 forced him to flee the country in 2014. Violent identity politics also emerged both in Egypt after Mubarak's ouster and in Ukraine following the removal of Yanukovych in 2014. In Egypt since 2011, the temporary unity of protesters devolved into fierce political (and sometimes physical) clashes between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and its diverse opponents. The post-Mubarak period also saw the emergence of increasingly pro-military nationalism and xenophobia, with numerous media outlets labeling oppositional domestic political factions as foreign agents, as had occurred under previous Egyptian administrations. In Ukraine, the non-negotiated ouster of Yanukovych in 2014 paved the way for foreign intervention, violent ethnolinguistic nationalist conflict and the rising prominence of far-right groups.
The cases of Egypt and Ukraine also show how protest movements that unseat incumbents can occur in contexts that are not necessarily auspicious for democratic reform. Governments can be susceptible to popular mobilization even when formal political institutions are rigged, opposition groups suffer from co-optation, and the overall structures of state power are difficult to change. In short, unexpected large-scale protest movements (albeit of different sorts) in Egypt and Ukraine reveal that mobilization against an authoritarian regime or incumbent is not necessarily tied to a process of democratic reform and consolidation, nor hindered by factors that serve as barriers to democratization.
There is no formal consensus that uprisings against authoritarianism are necessarily movements for liberal democracy. Indeed, framing uprisings as pro-democratic works against insights from scholarship on social movements, politics under authoritarianism and even democratic transitions, which tend to look at democratization as a process of strategic bargains among self-interested parties. Yet assumptions about the democratic character of uprisings still cloud journalistic narratives and policy analysis, and sometimes make their way into academic discussions. All of these fields would be better served by separating the analysis of mass mobilization from democratization, and overcoming four key misconceptions about how these two phenomena are supposedly linked.
Uprisings Often Lead to Democracy
Over the course of history, democracy has been a rare outcome of mass mobilization. On the one hand, there is a broad correspondence between democratization and protest movements, with protests generally occurring in democratizing states and receding in autocracies. Indeed, democracies are more susceptible to protests than autocracies because their relative political openness makes unofficial political engagement less costly.3 On the other hand, however, it is less clear whether or how protest movements lead to democratization. And the historical record shows that social movements often do not bring about democratization, at least not directly. Moreover, mass mobilization often supports anti-democratic regimes. For example, opposition groups have governed in an authoritarian manner once they took power following national liberation movements (in Algeria and Tunisia), mass mobilization against a dictator (the Iranian revolution), and the breakup of the Soviet Union (Belarus and Armenia in the early 1990s).4
Epochal revolutions (in France, Russia and China) that fundamentally changed global power structures and political norms involved a high level of violence and led to various forms of non-democratic rule. Revolutions usually end by establishing a political structure robust enough to maintain political bargains among competing groups. Democracy is only one means — and a historically rare one, at that — to establish a new political order in the wake of major social conflict.5 For example, Napoleon's empire and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy followed the French Revolution. And Fascist Italy and Germany, communist China, and national independence movements in the Third World drew upon mass mobilization as a means to form new non-democratic regimes. While some civic revolts over the past decades temporarily resulted in fairer elections and increased freedoms, these democratic advances (as in Ukraine following the Orange Revolution) often eroded with time. Additionally, scholars argue that violence can undermine the prospects for democratization following mass mobilization.6 However, as we illustrate with the case of Ukraine's 2004-05 Orange Revolution (often cited as a case of nonviolent resistance), even relatively peaceful mass mobilization against an autocrat does not necessarily aim towards or achieve lasting democratic reform.
Barriers to Democratization Are Barriers to Mobilization
Egypt and Ukraine both share features that scholars cited as likely barriers to both popular mobilization and democratization: foreign support for the maintenance of the status quo, lack of a cohesive oppositional leadership and underlying societal fissures. However, these factors did not prevent popular uprisings from unseating seemingly entrenched incumbents. In both cases, protesters mobilized against authoritarian governments despite the presence of major barriers to institutional democratic reform. Thus, recent events in Egypt and Ukraine illustrate how countries facing significant barriers to democratization are not shielded from mass mobilization. The fact that democratization was not likely in these countries did not prevent protesters from going to the streets.
In both Egypt and Ukraine, uprisings occurred despite international factors weighing against democratic reform. In Egypt, U.S. strategic interests aligned with supporting the Mubarak regime until mass protests made it no longer viable to do so. Even if the Obama administration's decision to finally support Mubarak's ouster influenced outcomes (in contrast to Bahrain, where the United States continued to back the monarchy in the face of government repression of protests), this only occurred after sustained mobilization tied Washington's hands. Around the time of the 2004-05 Orange Revolution, Ukraine did not occupy an international position that made democratization likely. Western pressure did not severely constrain authoritarian behavior, and international incentives for democratization, such as the possibility of European Union membership, were never on the table.7 Putin's support for Yanukovych during the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests, and the likelihood that Russia would continue to interfere, also arguably made the prospects for democratization less likely. Yet, this did not prevent the protests from growing.
Moreover, in both Ukraine and Egypt, collective action occurred despite the lack of a unifying leadership from formal opposition groups and civil society. Such limitations of the opposition did not hinder mobilization, though they do continue to constrain the possibilities for institutional reform.
In Ukraine, the Orange Revolution was largely funded by leading oligarchs, who have long dominated Ukrainian politics and exerted influence through patronage. Elites continued to manipulate purportedly democratic institutions, and many civil-society groups dissolved or were co-opted.8
Similarly, in Egypt mass mobilization occurred in spite of weak and divided formal opposition parties and civil-society organizations. Grassroots oppositional movements became increasingly active over the decade prior to the 2011 uprising, and the number of protests and strikes increased. However, these movements were systematically repressed, marginalized from formal politics or co-opted by the Mubarak regime, as opposition groups generally are in the context of prolonged authoritarian governance.9
Finally, in both Ukraine and Egypt, the protesters' temporary unity masked sectarian, ideological and class differences that resurfaced later. As we discuss in more detail below, the Orange Revolution and 2013-14 protests in Ukraine, like other urban civic revolutions, relied on temporary "negative coalitions" of protesters with various grievances who rapidly mobilized in city centers. In Egypt, as the uprising of June 30, 2013, against Mohamed Morsi dramatically showed, alliances between Islamists and other groups in the 2011 uprising were ephemeral. This was contrary to initially optimistic accounts of the possibility of political cooperation across old ideological boundaries. In both Egypt and Ukraine, in the wake of popular mobilization elites exploited divisions over issues such as religious ideology and national identity in order to bolster their own power.
Overall, while several factors supported continued authoritarian rule, these did not prevent collective action. In Egypt and Ukraine, neither foreign support for authoritarian elites, the absence of cohesive opposition leadership, nor underlying societal divisions prevented large numbers of people from organizing and responding to the call for protests. This suggests that the barriers to institutional democratization and mobilization are distinct from one another.
Mobilization Is an Expression of Democratic Norms
Observers of uprisings often imply that when mass movements are against dictators, they are thereby for democracy. This imposes a teleological narrative upon protest movements that risks mischaracterizing protesters' goals, overemphasizing their cohesion, and minimizing the role of non-participants and counterrevolutionaries.
According to a prevalent narrative by early observers of the 2011 uprisings in the Arab world, these events were momentous because they appeared to fall in line with the discourse and symbolism of a global progression towards democratic modernity.10 As President Obama put it after Hosni Mubarak stepped down on February 11, 2011, "Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day."11 Numerous journalistic accounts also portrayed the uprisings in the Arab world as straightforward struggles for liberal democracy. The Egyptian uprising, in particular, received attention in Western media for supposedly reflecting a sea change within the Arab world towards an embrace of democratic values by groups with otherwise diverse ideological stances.
Similarly, some early analyses of the 2004-05 Orange Revolution in Ukraine also viewed mass mobilization as the expression of newfound democratic values, largely driven by increased exposure to the West.12 Moreover, some optimistic accounts of the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests characterize them as fundamentally democratic, boding even more hope than the Orange Revolution, which ultimately succumbed to authoritarian backsliding.13
In short, many observers were quick to frame both the 2011 Arab uprisings and the 2004-05 and 2013-14 protest movements in Ukraine as pro-Western revolts against authoritarianism and for liberal democracy. This narrative may have had more to do with the hopes and normative commitments of the writers than the character of the protest movements themselves.
This is not to say that there is an academic consensus that the Arab uprisings or "Color Revolutions" were about fighting for liberal democracy. Some early observers of the Arab uprisings focused more on protesters' social and economic demands than on an abstract yearning for democracy.14 Also, some of those who penned overly optimistic narratives about these uprisings were not regional specialists; the latter did not always agree with such enthusiastic characterizations. However, the very fact that uprisings tend to draw journalistic and academic "tourists,"15 who parachute into newly sacred spaces such as Cairo's Tahrir Square and Kiev's Maidan, shows how observers can frame the study of mass uprisings more in terms of their own hopes and normative visions than empirical realities.
Of course, no one argues that mobilization against an autocrat automatically leads to liberal democracy. However, the idea that democracy is inherently attractive and destabilizing to autocracies often seeps into journalistic, policy and academic discourse. Even political-science studies that rely on hard-nosed game-theoretic analysis of dictatorships sometimes make assumptions about the democratic ideals of protest movements, though they are not necessarily central to the overall theory. Such accounts of protesters' democratic ideals recur despite arguments that transitions to democracy are based on bargaining among self-interested actors, and the possibility that democratization can occur "without democrats."16
A related problem is that journalists, policy analysts and scholars often assume that in order for protesters to successfully mobilize against a dictator, they must be unified around a pro-democratic ideology articulated by prominent intellectuals. However, prominent intellectuals have historically supported various forms of governance ranging from communism to liberal democracy to fascism. While some intellectuals have played a key role in supporting democratization (for example, Vaclav Havel in post-communist Czechoslovakia), others have embraced non-democratic regimes (for example, Carl Schmitt in Nazi Germany). In short, intellectuals are not inherently democratic, and neither are protesters.
In Ukraine, the assumption that participants in the 2004-05 Orange Revolution and the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests were united under a coherent pro-Western and pro-democratic ideology was both widespread and largely incorrect. There was a lack of ideological unity among protesters, who were brought together in large numbers primarily in response to Yanukovych's violent crackdown. Additionally, while extreme right-wing groups were a minority, they played a disproportionate role in organizing the movement and defending protest camps from the police.
As Mark Beissinger argues in a recent article in the American Political Science Review, surveys conducted around the time of Ukraine's Orange Revolution reveal that most participants in the uprising were not committed to democratic values, even as organizers presented a master narrative of a "democratic" revolution: "[N]ot only did Orange revolutionaries display weak commitment to the democratic values represented in the master narrative of the revolution, but they were a surprisingly diverse group in terms of their opinions on the major issues of the day in Ukraine, forming a negative coalition united primarily by shared symbols and identities, weak ties, and their extreme rejection of the incumbent regime."17
The 2011 Arab Barometer surveys in Egypt and Tunisia reveal that most participants in the uprisings did not identify democratic governance as their primary aim. As in Ukraine, "only a minority of participants in both the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings prioritized civil and political freedoms as a motivation for revolutionary participation" despite the fact that "these revolts were widely framed when they occurred as struggles for democracy."18 As in Ukraine, people participated in demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia for a variety of reasons, and it is a misleading oversimplification of both cases to depict mass mobilization in terms of a teleological narrative of "pro-democracy" uprisings.
Likewise, surveys of the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests in Ukraine suggest that analogous trends may be at play, falsifying the notion that protesters were primarily unified around pro-democratic ideals. For example, one survey shows that fewer than 20 percent of protesters were driven to participate because of "violations of democracy or the threat of dictatorship." Additionally, surveys show that slightly less than half the population supported the protests.19 This was largely due to the large Russian-speaking population in the south and east of the country, nearly half of Ukraine's population.
Lack of Democratization Is Best Studied As "Authoritarian Persistence"
Academic debates about mobilization and politics under authoritarianism are often slow to trickle down to journalistic and policy accounts of events. Scholarship on politics under authoritarianism has often served to temper overly optimistic accounts of uprisings as democratic panaceas. Eschewing the "democratizing bias" and the "fallacy of electoralism"20 of earlier work on democratization, scholars of authoritarianism have begun focusing on the adaptability of authoritarian leaders, who often incorporate electoral politics and limited liberalization without making major democratic reforms. Over the past 15 years or so, there has been an increase in work on the internal logic of power maintenance in dictatorships of various stripes, focusing more on the dynamics of political survival than on the barriers to democratization per se.21
However, there is still a tension within the contemporary literature between studying the barriers authoritarian regimes pose to democratization and studying power dynamics under authoritarianism in its own right. Despite its pretentions to have moved beyond the democracy bias of earlier scholarship, studies of "authoritarian persistence" still tend to treat authoritarian regimes as cases of non-democracies. This is problematic, since the barriers to democratization are often overdetermined. Pointing out various broad factors that hinder democratization can serve as an easy alternative to actually studying in detail how mobilization occurs and how it transforms power relations.
Scholarship on "politics under authoritarianism," on the other hand, examines how various types of dictators maintain power, how their elite coalitions change, and how ordinary citizens experience, engage with and debate politics.22 This literature focuses more on the substantive tactics and shifts in power relations under authoritarianism than the reasons for the absence of democracy. Not only can power relations in an autocracy shift in crucial ways without increasing the likelihood of democratization; questions about potential democratization are not always the most interesting or relevant.
The democratizing bias of the authoritarian-persistence paradigm, however, still frequently slips into debates about authoritarian politics. This is perhaps partly due to the continued fascination with democratization (or its absence) within policy debates and journalism. Thus, it seems natural to pose questions about the potential for democratization in the wake of mass mobilization against dictators, as in the so-called Arab Spring, Color Revolutions and Euromaidan protests.
Studying mass mobilization through the lens of regime type — whether democratization or "authoritarian persistence" — risks conflating questions about the broadly construed durability of an authoritarian regime (its resistance to democratization) with the stability of particular leaders, coalitions and institutions. In Egypt, since mass protests led to Hosni Mubarak's ouster in 2011, there have been three presidents in three years, thousands of protesters killed and tens of thousands of activists imprisoned. In Ukraine in 2004, protests prevented Viktor Yanukovych from ascending to power in contested elections. He was voted into the presidency again in 2010 and then fled after another wave of mass mobilization in 2013-14 (followed by Russian intervention and ongoing ethnic conflict). While power relations may not be becoming more democratic, they are certainly shifting in important ways. Observations about broadly conceived "authoritarian persistence" sideline the major transformations that are underway.
First, authoritarian persistence (the absence of institutional democratization) needs to be distinguished from the stability of a regime. Scholars of authoritarianism have correctly identified trends in entrenched regimes that would hamper rapid transitions to democratic governance, even in the face of large-scale public mobilization that could topple an executive. This has led some commentators to express satisfaction that democracy "failed" to take hold following mass mobilization in places such as Egypt, which were long used as case studies of durable authoritarian rule.23
In Ukraine, oligarchs continued to dominate the political arena after the 2004-05 Orange Revolution and remained powerful throughout Viktor Yushchenko's presidency (2005-10). Once elected president in 2005, Yanukovych increased the role of familial clientelism, coupled with overt authoritarian repression. In short, the legacies of authoritarian co-optation, exclusion, and political manipulation of opposition groups left an unequal political playing field in both countries, as they generally do in contexts of sustained authoritarian governance.
This does not mean, however, that dominant parties and coalitions have remained unfazed in the wake of mass mobilization. Even entrenched centers of power must adapt in the face of dramatic political events such as rapid executive turnover, identity conflict and security crackdowns. Regimes can be persistently authoritarian without being stable. Democratization may be highly unlikely in a given country, despite shifting political configurations.
Second, even when a given ruler's attempts to entrench power may have long-term consequences that hinder democratization, this does not mean that the ruler's position is necessarily stable in the face of unexpected shocks. Whether a power holder will step down in the face of mass mobilization is driven by highly iterative and contingent events that are difficult if not impossible to predict, even for those with insider knowledge. This was evident in both Egypt in 2011 and in Ukraine in 2013-14, where protester-regime contestation was driven by the dynamics of government repression and protesters' response to it, as well as by insider bargaining and power plays. Both cases illustrate that leaders do not always respond to protests in ways that outside observers would gauge to be serving their best interests and strengthening their power.
Finally, once mass mobilization has occurred, it is difficult to reestablish public quiescence. In both Egypt and Ukraine, recent experiences may have made future collective action more likely without necessarily increasing the likelihood of democratization. Political elites with vested interests have also attempted to rally supporters around issues like nationalism and against real or trumped up internal threats. Thus, in the wake of popular uprisings, both proponents of democratic reform and reactionary forces can use mobilization as a tool to further secure their power and interests.
In Egypt, following mass mobilization and the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in a military coup in June-July 2013, the military actively attempted to mobilize the public against the Muslim Brotherhood and in favor of a renewed military-backed security state. This was done partly through massive repression, but also by a media purge that created an environment in which only pro-state media personalities could flourish or even safely work. In Ukraine, following the ouster of Yanukovych in 2014 and the rise of ethno-nationalist conflict between Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking regions, propaganda by various sides has obscured what the facts really are.
In short, the cases of Egypt and Ukraine highlight how elites' attempts to stabilize their power in authoritarian regimes can have unintended consequences. Survival strategies by autocrats can create institutional legacies that make democratization unlikely without necessarily stabilizing a leader, his immediate cadre or party, or state-society relations. In some cases, the unlikelihood of near-term democratization is overdetermined. Focusing on the absence of democracy trivializes uprisings that do not bring about a certain set of institutional reforms. This focus on "authoritarian persistence" is merely an updated version of the "democracy bias."
"PRO-DEMOCRACY" UPRISINGS, A MISNOMER
The concept of "pro-democracy" uprisings implies that protest movements are teleological: "successful" if they bring about democratic reforms, "failed" if they do not. This imputes a shared vision among protesters that may never have existed in the first place or can change dramatically over time. It takes the narrative of some activists, journalists and commentators as definitively reflecting the motivations of the overall movement, or even the hopes and desires of the broader public. This ignores the inherent complexity of mass movements and the latent tensions that often violently arise in their wake. It also tends to ignore the role of non-participants, who are generally the overwhelming majority. Mobilization does not naturally lead to — and often works against — democratization.
Additionally, the barriers to mass mobilization are not always the same as the barriers to democratization. Thus, while longstanding forms of political engineering, co-optation and repression can make democratic reform difficult, they do not necessarily shield a given leader or elite cadre from mass protests. Uprisings do not usually occur because the public is rallying behind a coherent set of democratic political and social ideals, and regimes can be vulnerable to mass protest movements even under conditions in which institutional democratic reform is highly unlikely.
In order to assess the impact of mass mobilization, scholars should eschew the "authoritarian persistence" paradigm and clearly distinguish between the durability of a broadly construed regime type and the stability of a particular ruler, elite coalition or state-society relations. Doing so would underscore the fact that mass mobilization can work for and against the interests of dictators.
Publics often rally behind issues such as nationalism and xenophobia, which establish a new authoritarian status quo as often as they threaten the stability of future executives' power. Thus, while elites often attempt to co-opt protest movements in the wake of mass uprisings, they are not always successful at limiting mobilization that does not serve their interests. The rise of xenophobic nationalism, pro-state propaganda and popular support for security crackdowns do not presage democratic reform. Yet they may signal that the state is in crisis or going through dramatic shifts in power relations, and not simply returning to the status quo prior to mobilization. Focusing on the details of how elites attempt to reestablish power, manipulate their public image and renormalize state-society relations, as well as how publics respond to such political maneuvers, would tell us much more about the impact of mass mobilization under authoritarianism than accounts that primarily seek to explain the absence of democratization.
In sum, questions about regime change tell us little about why protests occur, how they evolve, and how they reshape power relations in autocracies. Scholars and policy analysts should study extraordinary events, such as mass mobilization, on their own terms for the changes they bring about. Decoupling the study of popular uprisings from regime change would emphasize how protest movements can bring about fundamental shifts in power relations without leading to, or even necessarily aiming for, democratization.
1Time, July 22, 2013.
2The Economist, July 13, 2013.
3 Charles Tilly, Social Movements, 1768-2004 (Paradigm Publishers, 2004): 125.
4 Keith Darden and Lucan Way, "Who Are the Protesters in Ukraine?" The Monkey Cage Blog, Washington Post, February 12, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/02/12/who-are-t….
5 Arthur L. Stinchcombe, "Ending Revolutions and Building New Governments," Annual Review of Political Science 2 (June 1999): 49-73.
6 Several studies argue that nonviolent uprisings are a relatively effective strategy for pushing for democratic reform. See, for example, Barbara Geddes, Joseph Wright and Erica Frantz, "Autocratic Breakdown and Regime Transitions: A New Data Set," Perspectives on Politics 12 (June 2014): 327; Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth, "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict," International Security 33 (Summer 2008): 7-44; Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Erica Frantzm "How Autocracies Fall," Washington Quarterly 37 (Spring 2014): 35-47; and Adrian Karatnycky and Peter Ackerman, How Freedom Is Won: From Civic Resistance to Durable Democracy (Freedom House, 2005).
7 Steven Levitsky and Lucan A. Way, Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War (Cambridge University Press, 2010), 219-220.
8 In his December 2013 assessment of the unlikelihood of the success of the Ukrainian protest movements, Lucan Way listed six reasons to be cautious about optimism for the ability of mass mobilization to impact change, three of which focused on the lack of opposition leadership and cohesion. Lucan Way, "Six Reasons to Be Cautious about Likelihood of Opposition Success in Ukraine," The Monkey Cage Blog, Washington Post, December 17, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2013/12/17/six-reaso….
9 On the rise of Egyptian grassroots oppositional movements prior to the 2011 uprisings, see Joel Beinin and Frédéric Vairel, eds., Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa (Stanford University Press, 2011); Dina Shehata, ed., The Return of Politics: New Protest Movements in Egypt [in Arabic] (Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, 2010). On the limitations of Egypt's formal opposition groups, see Thomas Carothers, "Egypt's Dismal Opposition: A Second Look," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 11, 2013, http://carnegieendowment.org/2013/05/14/egypt-s-dismal-opposition-secon…. For an account of the evolution of opposition-government relations in Mubarak's Egypt, see Holger Albrecht, Raging Against the Machine: Political Opposition under Authoritarianism in Egypt (Syracuse University Press, 2013).
10 See, for example, Jeffrey C. Alexander, Performative Revolution in Egypt: An Essay in Cultural Power (Bloomsbury Academic, 2011).
11 The White House, "Remarks by the President on Egypt," February 11, 2011, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/02/11/remarks-president….
12 For example, the following claim: "Authentic democratic values were being reinforced by a new generation that had grown up initially under glasnost, and later with a broad awareness of democratic practices around the world." Adrian Karatnycky, "Ukraine's Orange Revolution" Foreign Affairs 84 (March-April 2005): 43.
13 For example, the following claim: "The system incubated on the Maidan promises to be very different and more conducive to democracy than any Ukraine has seen in the past two decades." Nadia Diuk, "Finding Ukraine," Journal of Democracy 25 (July 2014): 86.
14 See, for example, Walter Armbrust, "The Revolution against Neoliberalism," Jadaliyya, February 23, 2011, http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/717/the-revolution-against-neolibe…-.
15 Mona Abaza, "Academic Tourists Sightseeing the Arab Spring," Ahram Online, September 26, 2011, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContentPrint/4/0/22373/Opinion/0/Academ…. For an account of Western-centric narratives about the uprisings in the Arab world, see Rabab El-Mahdi, "Orientalising the Egyptian Uprising," Jadaliyya, April 11, 2011, http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/1214/orientalising-the-egyptian-up….
16 For an example of a recent game-theoretic account that invokes the inherent connection between mass mobilization and democratic ideals, this statement: "Every revolution and every mass movement begins with a promise of democratic reform, of a new government that will lift up the downtrodden and alleviate their suffering. That is an essential ingredient in getting the masses to take to the streets. Of course, it doesn't always work." Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith, The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics (PublicAffairs, 2011), 196. For debates about the role of commitment to democratic values in regime transitions, see, for example, Ghassan Salame, ed., Democracy without Democrats?: The Renewal of Politics in the Muslim World (I.B. Tauris, 1994); and John Waterbury, "Fortuitous Byproducts," in Transitions to Democracy, ed. Lisa Anderson (Columbia University Press, 1999), 261-283.
17 Mark R. Beissinger, "The Semblance of Democratic Revolution: Coalitions in Ukraine's Orange Revolution," American Political Science Review 107 (August 2013): 578.
18 Ibid., 590.
19 Keith Darden and Lucan Way, "Who Are the Protesters in Ukraine?" The Monkey Cage Blog, Washington Post, February 12, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/02/12/who-are-t….
20 Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way, "The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism," Journal of Democracy 13 (April 2002): 51; and Terry Lynn Karl, "The Hybrid Regimes of Central America," Journal of Democracy 6 (July 1995): 72-86.
21 This encompasses a large and diverse body of literature. Some of the best examples: Daniel Brumberg, "The Trap of Liberalized Autocracy," Journal of Democracy 13 (October 2002): 56-68; Beatriz Magaloni, Voting for Autocracy (Cambridge University Press, 2006); Steven Heydemann, Upgrading Authoritarianism in the Arab World, Analysis Paper 13 (Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, 2007); Jason Brownlee, Authoritarianism in an Age of Democratization (Cambridge University Press, 2007); Jennifer Gandhi, Political Institutions under Dictatorship (Cambridge University Press, 2008); Dan Slater, Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
22 For work on the politics of leader survival under various forms of dictatorship, see, for example, Milan W. Svolik, The Politics of Authoritarian Rule (Cambridge University Press, 2012); for work on the everyday experience of citizens under autocracy, see, for example, Lisa Wedeen, Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria (University of Chicago Press, 1999); and Lisa Wedeen, Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen (University of Chicago Press, 2008).
23 For an extended version of our critique, see Marc Morjé Howard and Meir R. Walters, "Explaining the Unexpected: Political Science and the Surprises of 1989 and 2011," Perspectives on Politics 12 (June 2014): 394-408; and Marc Morjé Howard and Meir R. Walters, "Response to Eva Bellin, Ellen Lust, and Marc Lynch," Perspectives on Politics 12 (June 2014): 417-419.