Past Event

TO BE MOVED ONLINE - Autocratic Legalism: The Use of Legality in Authoritarian Consolidation

April 6, 2020
9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
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UPDATE 3/13: Based on the latest travel, visitor, and event guidelines from Columbia University in response to the developing situation with COVID-19, and in an effort to be mindful of everyone's health and safety, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this in-person event on Monday, April 6th. We apologize for any inconvenience and disappointment this may cause!

We are working closely with event organizers and speakers on plans to move this event online. More details to follow.


Closed roundtable workshop - By invitation only. If you are interested in attending, kindly email [email protected].



Today, we are observing a new type of authoritarianism in the world in countries like Venezuela, India, Turkey, Brazil, Russia, Hungary, and Poland albeit with significant differences among them. Authoritarianism seems to be the zeitgeist,[1] the predominant spirit of our times. Expressions like “competitive authoritarianism” and “electoral authoritarianism” are used in the literature in an attempt to distinguish some of these regimes from democracies as well as past authoritarian regimes that mostly emerged by abrupt military coup d’états. These regimes rather emerge and consolidate themselves gradually over the course of many years during which the new authoritarian political incumbents pursue electoral politics by holding competitive but not free and unfair elections on an uneven playing field. In addition to how they manipulate the electoral arena and reduce executive constraints, use and abuse of legality have emerged as a key dimension in understanding these regimes. In fact utilization of the law in the service of authoritarianism led to the notion of “rule by law” in place of “rule of law.”

This workshop will address several dimensions of new authoritarianism with particular focus on the use of legality in authoritarian consolidation.