After Repression: A Conversation with Elizabeth Nugent (S. 9, Ep. 9)

Elizabeth Nugent talks about her new book, After Repression: How Polarization Derails Democratic Transition with Marc Lynch on this week’s podcast. The book explores how polarization and repression led to different political outcomes in Tunisia and Egypt.

Nugent explains, “When I started my fieldwork in Tunisia, it was clear to me again coming from Egypt with that kind of as my baseline how differently people spoke about each other and so the more I dug in the more that repression – the way in which the Ben Ali regime and the Mubarak regime repressed these different opposition groups – was very key for why these two different places ended up very differently polarized.”

“It’s possible that as repression has come to touch a number of different groups in Egypt in the current moment it’s softening some of these identity politics that have been problematic in the past,” says Nugent.

Nugent says, “What I find is that there are higher levels of both affective and preference polarization, here meaning negative affect in a targeted repressive environment and lower levels of both in a widespread repressive environment.


Elizabeth Nugent is an assistant professor of political science at Yale University. Her research explores the psychology of political behavior in the Middle East, with a focus on the effects of religion and repression.


Music for this season’s podcast was created by Feras Arrabi. You can find more of his work on his Facebook and Instagram page.

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