Work Package 1

Firstly, DEMED will establish the drivers of democratic and authoritarian political culture, which we assume affect the rise or fall of democracy. The project thereby will make important theoretical advances to the existing literature as well as create new global historical data on regime indoctrination.

A new theoretical framework: As the first step of WP1, the project will create a ground-breaking unified theoretical framework of micro-level drivers of citizens’ support for political regimes that underpin both democratic and autocratic (in)stability. This new theoretical framework will identify and synthesise into a single framework all the tools and strategies political regimes have used since 1900 to the present to build popular support among their citizens. Emphasis will be placed on conceptualising the tools, particularly authoritarian indoctrination, which are most likely to have persistent effects on citizens’ political preferences and thus lead to phenomena such as authoritarian nostalgia and democratic backsliding. Two emerging scholars in this field, Dr. Ksenia Northmore-Ball and Dr. Katerina Tertytchnaya, contribute to the development of this theoretical framework. 

A new global historical dataset: Based on the theory, we will develop comparative measures of the two key components of authoritarian indoctrination, education and political communication, which we expect to be at the heart of impacting the formation of citizens’ democratic and authoritarian values. DEMED will create the first-ever global dataset that contains information on autocratic and democratic indoctrination, covering 180 countries from 1900 to today. This comprehensive new dataset will allow us to study the long-term bottom-up causes of democratisation and democratic backsliding. The collection of factual data will be supervised by the PI Prof. Anja Neundorf and compiled by the project postdoc, Dr. Eugenia Nazrullaeva

Creating an expert survey: DEMED will hold a workshop to refine the conceptualisation and identify the best indicators to measure these regime tools. Dr. Northmore-Ball and Dr. Tertytchnaya will further support the drafting of the expert survey. To achieve the highest possible quality of expert coding, DEMED will collaborate with and draw from the expertise of the influential Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute at the University of Gothenburg. 

Outputs: The data will be used to develop a new empirical regime typology that focuses on the relationship between regimes and citizens specifically in terms of regime intent and capacity to shape citizen preferences in a way that can lead to persistent democratic (or authoritarian) values. This new regime typology will motivate crucial theoretical re-pivoting towards a focus on the bottom-up long-term societal processes that determine democratic and autocratic (in)stability.