Project

Back to overview

Democratic Diffusion and the Arab Spring

Applicant Gilardi Fabrizio
Number 153472
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Politikwissenschaft Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.09.2014 - 31.08.2018
Approved amount 327'746.00
Show all

Keywords (4)

democratization; automated content analysis; diffusion; Arab Spring

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Demokratiediffusion und der "Arabische Frühling"Die Proteste und demokratischen Reformen (einige davon relativ erfolgreich, andere nicht), die sich in den Staaten des Mittleren Ostens und Nordafrikas (MENA-Region) im Jahr 2011 zutrugen, wurden bekannt als der „Arabische Frühling“. Die in der Berichterstattung oft verwendete Metapher der Dominosteine transportierte die Idee, dass die Ereignisse in einem Land von jenen in einem anderen beeinflusst waren. Diese Interpretation ist in der Tat sehr plausibel und wird durch akademische Forschung unterstützt, die Belege sind jedoch nicht sehr aussagekräftig. Unsere Untersuchung verfolgt das Hauptziel, einen präziseren Einblick in diese Fragestellung zu erhalten. Zu diesem Zweck wird analysiert, wie Proteste und Reformen eines bestimmten Landes in einem anderen Land wahrgenommen wurden.
Lay summary
Konkret beziehen wir uns auf fünf Aspekte in der Wahrnehmung von Ereignissen: rivalisierende Gruppen in einem gewalttätigen Kontext, individuelle Schicksale oder Erfolge, Verantwortung für die Protestursache, religiöse und moralische Implikationen, sowie wirtschaftliche Konsequenzen für Individuen, Gruppen, Länder oder die ganze Gegend. Wir untersuchen die Verbreitung dieser Frames und insbesondere ihre Veränderung über die Zeit als Reaktion auf Ereignisse in anderen Ländern. Dies erfolgt durch die Auswertung einer hohen Zahl an Zeitungsartikeln mit statistischen Textanalysetechniken. Die Ergebnisse werden wichtige praktische Implikationen für das Verständnis der Demokratisierungsaussichten der MENA-Region haben und, im Allgemeinen, zum besseren Verständnis der Rolle von Interdependenz und Spill-over-Effekten in den zwischenstaatlichen Beziehungen beitragen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 08.04.2014

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
The wave of protests and democratic reforms (some relatively successful, others failed) that took place across Middle Eastern and Northern African (MENA) countries in 2011 has been known as the "Arab Spring." Many commentators have used the metaphor of a domino to highlight the idea that events in one country were influenced by events in other countries. This interpretation is very plausible and is supported by some academic research, but the evidence is not very strong. Our main goal is to gain more precise insights into this question by looking at how protests and reforms in a given country were perceived in other countries.
Lay summary
Specifically, we consider five aspects that shape how events are perceived: opposing groups in a violent context, individual tragedies or achievements, responsibility for causing the protests, religious or moral implications, and economic consequences for individuals, groups, countries, or the whole region. We examine the prevalence of these frames and, especially, how they change over time and as a response to events in other countries. We do this by studying a very large number of newspaper articles with statistical text analysis techniques. The findings will have important practical implications for the assessment of democratization prospects in the MENA region and, more generally, for gaining a better understanding of the role of interdependence and spillovers in international affairs.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 08.04.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Dr. Nils Weidmann Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association Talk given at a conference Framing Protests: Limits and Opportunities for Contested Authoritarian Regimes 21.06.2018 Wien, Austria Ciocan Dumitru;
Annual Congress of the Swiss Political Science Association Talk given at a conference MENA Reporting Bias 05.02.2018 Genf, Switzerland Ciocan Dumitru;
Workshop on the International Dimension of Vertical Threats and Regime Security in Authoritarian Regimes Talk given at a conference Do Regimes of the MENA Area Collaborate in Times of Crises? 16.09.2017 Heidelberg, Germany Ciocan Dumitru;
Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Talk given at a conference How the MENA Media Framed the Arab Spring 31.08.2017 San Francisco, United States of America Ciocan Dumitru;
Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Talk given at a conference Censorship of the Arab Spring in MENA Media 01.09.2016 Philadelphia, United States of America Ciocan Dumitru;
Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association Talk given at a conference Censorship of the Arab Spring in MENA Media 23.06.2016 Brüssel, Belgium Ciocan Dumitru;
Annual Congress of the Swiss Political Science Association Talk given at a conference Censorship of the Arab Spring in MENA Media 21.01.2016 Basel, Switzerland Ciocan Dumitru;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
183120 Digital Democracy Lab 01.12.2018 Digital Lives
150071 Measuring policy diffusion with automated content analysis: The case of smoking bans in Switzerland and the United States 01.08.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

The wave of protests that took place across Middle Eastern and Northern African (MENA) countries in 2011 has been interpreted as a diffusion process whereby protests in one country have fuelled protests (but also state responses) in other countries. While this interpretation is very plausible, little systematic empirical evidence has been produced to support it. This project studies democratic diffusion during the Arab Spring by looking at how protests and state responses in one country were perceived in other countries. Theoretically, the project builds on the recent diffusion literature in political science. Methodologically, it puts forward an original approach relying on automated content analysis. The project will make two scientific contributions. First, it will produce a more accurate understanding of democratic diffusion in MENA countries. Second, it develops a method that could be used to analyze a broad range of diffusion processes. The findings will have important practical implications for the assessment of democratization prospects in the MENA region and, more generally, for gaining a better understanding of the role of interdependence and spillovers in international affairs.
-