The conditioning effect of protest history on the emulation of nonviolent conflict

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18 Scopus citations


Violent domestic conflicts spread between countries via spillover effects and the desire to emulate events abroad. Herein, we extend this emulation logic to the potential for the contagion of nonviolent conflicts. The spread of predominantly nonviolent pro-democracy mobilizations across the globe in the mid-to-late 1980s, the wave of protests in former Soviet states during the Color revolutions in the 2000s, and the eruption of nonviolent movements across the Middle East and North Africa during the Arab Spring in the early 2010s each suggest that the observation of collective action abroad encourages a desire to emulate among potential challengers to domestic autocrats. However, the need to emulate varies. Potential challengers with a recent history of protest at home are less dependent (than are those without similar experience) upon foreign exemplars to mobilize the participants and generate the resources required to make emulation practicable. By contrast, where the domestic experience of protest is absent, opposition movements are more reliant upon emulation of foreign exemplars. We test the implications of this logic using a series of multivariate logistic regression analyses. Our tests employ data on nonviolent civil resistance mobilizations that occurred across the global population of autocratic states between 1946 and 2006. These tests, along with post-estimation analysis, provide evidence consistent with our conditional logic of emulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-711
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • civil conflict
  • contagion
  • emulation
  • nonviolence
  • protest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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