Dr. Paola Rivetti, School of Law and Government, has won an Irish Research Council New Horizons Research Project Starter Grant of € 94,740 to investigate protest cycles and the management of dissent in authoritarian settings, with a specific focus on the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Dr. Rivetti’s research is focused on the government of polities and societies in the Middle East and North Africa, dissecting the dynamics of political change and regime stability in the region. She was an Irish Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow between 2011 and 2013, and held teaching and research positions in various universities in Europe. She is a co-founder of the Lund University-based European Iran Research Group and currently is involved in an FP7 EU-funded project titled ‘Researching Arab Mediterranean Youth: Towards a New Social Contract’ (SAHWA) on Arab youth and the uprisings focused on Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon. She contributed chapters to a number of edited volumes and published articles in ‘British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies’, ‘Journal of European Integration’, ‘Democratization’, ‘Middle Eastern Studies’, ‘Mediterranean Politics’, ‘Alternatives: Global Local Political’. She is co-editor of Continuity and change before and after the Arab uprisings. Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt (Routledge, 2015).
This project builds on Dr. Rivetti’s previous work asking how the Iranian regime managed to remain stable despite significant popular mobilisation during the years under examination, by referring to the theory of authoritarian resilience. However, building on the most recent reflection stimulated by the breakout of the Arab Spring, this project integrates it with social movement theory and the analysis of cycles of protests ‘from below’. Therefore, the focus in placed on the emergence of protest cycles, their internal dynamics, diffusion, outcomes, and descendent phase, usually characterised by violent repression, co-option and intimidation by state structures. The characteristics of this pattern and the regime’s management of mobilisations reveal much about how authoritarian regimes remain stable despite challenges from below, offering findings for comparative analysis. The project outputs include academic papers and a volume, but also a policy paper and a policy event to disseminate the findings to practitioners and policy-makers beyond academia.