The Co-Construction of Authoritarianism: Emotional Engagement and Politics in Russia after Crimea

Posted: 26 Nov 2018

See all articles by Samuel Greene

Samuel Greene

King's Russia Institute, King's College London

Graeme Robertson

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Date Written: September 12, 2018

Abstract

What is the role of emotion in authoritarianism? While studies of the emotion and politics have flourished in democratic settings, the study of contemporary authoritarianism remains dominated by institutional and material/rational explanations, focusing on a regime’s ability to maintain control rather than the social phenomena that may impel citizens to support their leaders. Findings from a panel survey of Russian citizens immediately before and after the annexation of Crimea demonstrate that role that emotional engagement can play in building and deepening support for authoritarian leaders. Participation in a mediated collective experience – one that creates a sense of connection with other members of the political community – is shown to increase respondents’ emotional attachment to the leadership, which in turn improves individuals’ sense of their own well-being, altering the perceptions of the material factors that also influence regime support.

Keywords: Russia, authoritarianism, emotion, politics, war, collective effervescence

JEL Classification: none

Suggested Citation

Greene, Samuel and Robertson, Graeme, The Co-Construction of Authoritarianism: Emotional Engagement and Politics in Russia after Crimea (September 12, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3289134 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3289134

Samuel Greene (Contact Author)

King's Russia Institute, King's College London ( email )

Bush House
30 Aldwych
London, WC2B 4BG
United Kingdom

Graeme Robertson

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
NC 27514

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