Layers of Political Repression: Integrating Research on Social Movement Repression

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2 Scopus citations


Social movements are critical sources of change in both democratic and undemocratic contexts, leading authorities and others to attempt to prevent, constrain, or otherwise control them. In this review, we argue that research relevant to a comprehensive understanding of social movement repression is scattered across disciplines, including sociology, political science, law and society, and area studies, with each discipline focusing on different aspects. We introduce a layered framework that positions social movement repression within a larger field of political repression, connecting these unproductively siloed areas. This provides diverse researchers a map for locating one another and situating their work in relation to other disciplines. It also highlights the importance of sociolegal concepts and expertise (i.e., on understanding how illegality is defined, how legal systems may be used to suppress minoritized groups, diverse motivations for legal action) to deepening the study of political repression generally and social movement repression specifically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-248
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual Review of Law and Social Science
StatePublished - 2022


  • human rights
  • nonviolent resistance
  • peace science
  • physical integrity rights violations
  • repression
  • security studies
  • social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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