Nimmi Gowrinathan and Zachariah Mampilly, Resistance and Repression under the Rule of Rebels: Women, Clergy, and Civilian Agency in LTTE Governed Sri Lanka

Civilians living in areas of rebel control have a variety of tools through which they may challenge rebel rule. While studies have examined how civilians violently resist the rule of armed groups, few have examined non-violent challengers. By examining instances of non-violent opposition to rebel rule by civilians living under rebel control in “Eelam,” the areas of Sri Lanka controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, this article develops a conception of agency that reveals far more about the civilian/rebel relationship. Drawing on original interviews with key participants, we focus on two modes of “oppositional agency” in which women and clergy non-violently challenged the rebel government regarding its detention and recruitment practices, with some success.

Danielle Resnick, The Politics of Crackdowns on Africa’s Informal Vendors

Crackdowns on informal vendors are a common form of violence against the poor in many cities in developing countries. This article uses a media events database to examine crackdowns of informal vendors in Accra, Dakar, and Lusaka from 2000 to 2016. During this period, Accra demonstrated consistently high levels of violence towards vendors, while violence increased in Dakar and decreased in Lusaka. The article argues that these trends are driven by differences in political decentralization for municipal authorities, variations in their administrative mandates over vending, and the degree of influence vendors hold as an electoral constituency. Through a structured comparison of the governance of informal vendors across multiple cities, the article demonstrates how state violence manifests through everyday battles over access to public space.

Carla Alberti, Populist Multiculturalism in the Andes: Balancing Political Control and Societal Autonomy

Radical populists in the Andes have combined a populist program and a multicultural agenda. However, while populism centralizes power in the hands of the leader and emphasizes the unity of the people, multiculturalism grants cultural rights that strengthen societal autonomy, generating an inherent tension between these two modes of incorporation. How are populist governments able to combine unity and fragmentation as well as centralization and autonomy? This article develops the concept of populist multiculturalism, focusing on the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) in Bolivia, which has supported autonomy rights while simultaneously curtailing their implementation. Specifically, it examines the implementation of indigenous autonomous governments and prior consultation and the relationship between indigenous organizations and the ruling party. The article also extends this concept to Ecuador and Venezuela.

Sarah J. Hummel, Sideways Concessions and Individual Decisions to Protest

Sideways concessions to protest are policy reforms that decrease grievance among potential protesters, without being directly linked to the stated demands of the protest. By avoiding both the backlash effect of repression and the inspirational effect of direct concessions, they are theoretically powerful tools for quelling unrest. This article evaluates the effectiveness of sideways concessions at reducing individual mobilization potential using a survey experiment conducted in Kyrgyzstan in October 2015. The evidence shows sideways concessions are effective among respondents who were dissatisfied with the government and not optimistic about the future of the country. The article also demonstrates the plausibility of these results in other settings, drawing on observational data from the 2014 Gezi Park protests in Turkey and the 2013 Euromaidan protests in Ukraine.

Jeffrey W. Paller, Dignified Public Expression: A New Logic of Political Accountability

Research on political accountability emphasizes elections and popular control, but often neglects how ordinary people hold their leaders to account in the context of daily life. Dominant scholarly approaches emphasize the logic of electoral sanctioning and removal, missing the importance of mutual respect between representatives and citizens. This article introduces a new logic of democratic accountability based on the social practices, daily political behaviors, and public deliberation between representatives and citizens. Using urban Ghana as a study site, this article uncovers the mechanisms through which a theory based on respect works in practice. By reconciling theories of political representation with deliberative democracy, the article places the voices of urban Ghanaians in conversation with Western political thought to broaden understandings of accountability in African democracies.

Candelaria Garay and Maria Marta Maroto, Local Health Care Provision as a Territorial Power-Building Strategy: Non-Aligned Mayors in Argentina

What explains variation in local health services? Comparative scholarship highlights economic factors, electoral competition, and partisanship to account for service disparities. Employing an original data set and qualitative case studies of health service provision in thirty-three metropolitan municipalities in Argentina between 1995 and 2015, we find that mayors are likely to provide more services when they are not aligned with the governor. Unable to access the discretionary resources and electoral support from governors that aligned mayors enjoy, non-aligned mayors exploit automatic provincial revenue-sharing health transfers, which reward municipalities that provide more services and have more infrastructure, in order to build territorial power. These findings highlight the importance of non-alignment and the conditions under which formula-based transfers encourage local service provision.

Tomila Lankina and Alexander Libman, Soviet Legacies of Economic Development, Oligarchic Rule, and Electoral Quality in Eastern Europe’s Partial Democracies: The Case of Ukraine

Can economic development retard democracy, defying expectations of classic modernization theorizing? If so, under what conditions? Our article addresses the puzzle of poor democratic performance in highly urbanized and industrialized post-communist states. We assembled an original dataset with data from Ukraine’s local and national elections and constructed district- (rayon) and region- (oblast) level indices of electoral quality. Regions and districts that score higher on developmental indices also score lower on electoral quality, including in Ukraine’s Western regions conventionally considered more democratic than the predominantly Russian-speaking Eastern regions. We explain these outcomes with reference to the peculiarities of Soviet industrial development, which facilitated the emergence of “oligarchs” in territories housing Soviet-era mega-industries. Our research contributes to comparative debates about the links between economic development and democracy.

Maya Tudor and Adam Ziegfeld, Social Cleavages, Party Organization, and the End of Single-Party Dominance: Insights from India

When do electorally dominant parties lose power in democracies? Drawing on the experiences of India’s states during the period of Indian National Congress dominance, we argue that single-party dominance is less likely to endure under two conditions: first, when one of the opposition parties possesses a longstanding and robust party organization and, second, when there is a single social cleavage dividing the political class into two main cleavage groups. Both conditions contribute to the demise of a dominant party system by encouraging a previously fragmented opposition to consolidate behind one large party capable of challenging the dominant party. We provide support for our argument with evidence from across India’s states and with more in-depth case studies of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh.