Agents of resistance: resolve and repertoires against autocratization in Asia

Nhu Truong, Elvin Ong, Maggie Shum

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


Over the past few decades, the pendulum of regime change across the world has swung dramatically from democratization to autocratization. There has been much contention and debate about the extent, variation, and causes surrounding these processes. This special issue turns the spotlight away from regime change and political elites towards societal agents, particularly societal agents who mobilize and resist against autocratization unfolding within democratic and authoritarian regimes. In this introductory article, we review and critique the literature on autocratization studies, and introduce our concept of “agents of resistance.” We argue that agents of resistance can develop and engage in repertoires against autocratization under any regime type. Specifically, the contributions in this special issue highlight seemingly mundane repertoires of resistance, and how they can grow through cumulative interactions among societal agents, and between societal agents and the state. Scholars should recognize the full spectrum of resistance and both their liberal and illiberal elements to better assess the impact on global trends of democratization or autocratization. Finally, this article discusses some methodological trends with regards to the existing literature, and introduces the contributions that compose this special issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-530
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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