Dissertation - Theoretical Approach
Central to my work is the question: how do international factors like democracy promotion or autocratic intervention shape protesters’ decision-making strategies? I propose that 1) support from democracies bolsters protesters’ resolve by providing them with psychological strength and by signaling that harsh repression from dictators will be met with sanctions; and that 2) intervention by autocrats elsewhere to suppress protests will send signs of vulnerability and prompt a backlash when the incumbent is weak but deter protests when the incumbent is strong by increasing citizen perceptions of threat.
Testing my Claims
How do I test this?
I test these hypotheses in three ways. First, I present a case study of Ukraine’s 2013-2014 Euromaidan movement to illustrate my causal mechanisms in action. I spent six months in Ukraine interviewing and surveying more than 120 Members of Parliament, reporters, activists, and civil society leaders to examine how protesters’ beliefs about Western support and Russian intervention shaped their behavior. These interviews illustrated the fact that for many protesters, attention and support from Western states and organizations (particularly the European Union, the United States, and the Ukrainian diaspora) was central in strengthening their will to continue campaigning against the regime.
Second, I independently designed and implemented an original survey experiment at three Ukrainian universities, recruiting nearly two hundred students; findings show that individuals are significantly more likely to protest when they believe that democracies elsewhere support them (P < 0.001).
Finally, I provide a series of comparative case studies to examine how these trends hold across contexts.
Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies conference, San Francisco, CA 2019
Presenting “Paradoxes of collective endurance: comparing Russophone ethnic parties in Estonia and Latvia.” With Kyle Estes
Midwest Political Science Association annual conference, Chicago, IL 2019
Served as Chair for panel entitled, “Identity, Protest, and Participation in Developing Countries”
Presented “Motivation or Deterrence? Testing the Competing Effects of Democracy Promotion and Autocratic Intervention on Democratic Movements in Authoritarian and Hybrid Regimes
American Political Science Association annual conference, Boston, MA 2018
Presented “Importing Revolution: Global Determinants of Protest Movements in Autocracies”
Midwest Political Science Association annual conference, Chicago, IL 2018
Served as Chair and Discussant for panel entitled, “State, Media, and Society: A Changing Landscape of Relationships in the Post-Soviet Space”
Presented “Why do People in Authoritarian Regimes Protest? Evidence from an Original Survey Experiment in Ukraine”
International Association for Political Science Students conference, Odessa, Ukraine 2017
Midwest Political Science Association annual conference, Chicago, IL 2017
Presented “Opposition NGOs and Governance in New Democracies.” With Amanda Burke.
American Political Science Association annual conference, Philadelphia, PA 2016
Presented “Which Factors Drive Protest Behavior in the Post-Communist World Today?”
International Association for Political Science Students conference, Kyiv, Ukraine 2016
Midwest Political Science Association annual conference, Chicago, IL 2016
Presented “Why Protest? Identifying the Factors that Drive Protests, Social Movements, and Contentious Politics in the Post-Communist World Today”
Midwest Political Science Association annual conference, Chicago, IL 2015
Presented “Troubled Neighborhoods: Explaining the Cross-National Diffusion of Ethnic Conflict” With Thomas Lassi.
American Political Science Association annual conference, Washington, D.C. 2014
Presented “Understanding the Determinants of Citizen Satisfaction with Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe Today”
Midwest Political Science Association annual conference, Chicago, IL 2014
Presented “Understanding Citizen Satisfaction with Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe”