Democratic backsliding disrupted: The role of digitalized resistance in Myanmar

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More than one year since its coup, the Myanmar military has neither established effective control of the territory nor crushed online dissent. What factors have enabled the resistance forces to deny the consolidation of military rule? We address this question by building a novel theoretical framework that incorporates the role of long-standing digitalized pro-democracy activism and conducting a mixed-method analysis that includes an original, largely representative sample of public Facebook posts in post-coup Myanmar. We find that the development of online and hybrid pro-democracy activism against digital abuse and other illiberal policies under previous quasi-civilian governments enabled anti-coup resistance forces to thwart the military’s attempt of authoritarian revival in 2021. Our research findings deepen understanding of Myanmar’s post-coup contestation dynamics as well as other cases of unpopular autocratization in the current-day digital era.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAsian Journal of Comparative Politics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)133-158
Publication statusPublished - 2024

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - democratic backsliding, autocratization, military coup, digital repression, anti-coup resistance, digital activism, Myanmar

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