Autocracies not only resist the global spread of democracy but are sources of autocratic influence and pressure. This book presents a conceptual model to understand, assess, and explain the promotion and diffusion of authoritarian elements.

Employing a cross-regional approach, leading experts empirically test the concept of authoritarian gravity centers (AGCs), defined as "regimes that constitute a force of attraction and contagion for countries in geopolitical proximity." With an analysis extending across Latin America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Asia, these AGCs are shown to be effective as active promoters (push) or as neutral sources of attraction (pull). The authors contend that the influence of exogenous factors, along with international and regional contexts for the transformation of regime types, is vital to understanding and analyzing the transmission of autocratic institutional settings, ideas, norms, procedures, and practices, thus explaining the regional clustering of autocracies. It is the regional context in which external actors can influence authoritarian processes most effectively.

Authoritarian Gravity Centers is a vibrant and comprehensive contribution to the growing field of autocratization, which will be of great interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students of comparative area studies, illiberalism, international politics, and studies of democracy.

part Part I|52 pages


chapter 1|23 pages

Autocratization and its Pull and Push Factors – A Challenge for Comparative Research

ByMarianne Kneuer, Thomas Demmelhuber

chapter 2|27 pages

Conceptualizing Authoritarian Gravity Centers

Sources and Addressees, Mechanisms and Motives of Authoritarian Pressure and Attraction 1
ByMarianne Kneuer, Thomas Demmelhuber

part Part II|119 pages

Empirical Studies on Authoritarian Gravity Centers

chapter 3|34 pages

Kingdom of Gravity

Autocratic Promotion and Diffusion in Saudi Arabia
ByTobias Zumbrägel

chapter 4|49 pages

Democratic Erosion and Autocratization in Latin America

The Role of Venezuela as an Authoritarian Gravity Center 1
ByMarianne Kneuer

chapter 5|34 pages


A Possible Future Authoritarian Gravity Center?
ByAdele del Sordi, Alexander Libman

part Part III|101 pages

The International Dimension of Authoritarianism Revisited

chapter 6|28 pages

Russia’s Effects on a Consolidated Democracy

The Erosion of Democracy in Hungary and the Putin Model
ByThomas Ambrosio

chapter 7|22 pages

Iran and Its Neighbors

Military Assistance as Support for Authoritarianism
ByRachel Vanderhill

chapter 8|24 pages

Networking with Chinese Characteristics

China’s Party-to-Party Relations in Asia
ByJulia Bader, Christine Hackenesch

part Part IV|15 pages

Authoritarian Gravity Centers in Cross-Regional Comparison

chapter 10|13 pages

Authoritarian Gravity Centers in Cross-Regional Comparison

Future Studies and the International Dimension of Authoritarianism
ByThomas Demmelhuber, Marianne Kneuer, Tobias Zumbrägel