Repression, Cooptation and Movement Fragmentation in Authoritarian Regimes Evidence from the Youth Movement in Egypt

Author's Department

Political Science Department

Find in your Library

All Authors

Nadine Mourad Sedky Sika

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Political Studies

Publication Date





How do authoritarian regimes fragment protest movements in the aftermath of mass protests? How do protest movements deal with these authoritarian measures in return? Based on qualitative fieldwork with 70 young people in Egypt from April until November 2015, I demonstrate that regimes which face major contentious events and transition back to authoritarian rule, utilize two main strategies for fragmenting protest movements: repression and cooptation. The main literature on protest movements contends that regimes respond to protest movements through a combination of repression and concession to offset movement gains and eliminate their motivations for further protests. More concessions are believed to be effective in democratic regimes, while more repression is effective in authoritarian regimes. However, the results of this fieldwork demonstrate the importance of repression in addition to cooptation in authoritarian regimes, which is largely ignored in the literature on protest movements. Cooptation is an instrumental tactic for the regime in two manners: first it creates internal struggles within the movements themselves, which adds to their fragmentation. Second, it facilitates a regime’s repression against protest movement actors. This creates more fragmentation in addition to deterrence to the development of new protest movements and protest activities.

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.