Gender and repression in an autocracy: findings from Belarus

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Olena Nikolayenko Fordham University, USA

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A growing body of research recognizes the impact of gender on social movement activity. Yet, far less attention has focused on the deployment of repressive methods in a gendered manner. The study contributes to comparative politics literature by proposing a typology of repression. At the start of mass mobilization, state authorities tend to invoke patriarchal norms to ridicule and stigmatize activists. Next, the coercive apparatus targets protesters through the use of psychological intimidation, physical violence, and sexual violence, as well as legal and economic repression. At the end of protests, the police resort to debasement and dehumanization of jailed protesters in a gendered manner. Drawing on the case of Belarus, one of the most restrictive political regimes in Europe, the study illustrates how repressive methods are gendered throughout different phases of mass mobilization. The study seeks to expand our understanding of various ways in which individuals are subject to repression.

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Olena Nikolayenko Fordham University, USA

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