His symposium employs established social science theory to frame and place into comparative perspective the case of Belarusian mass mobilization that began in August 2020. We not only argue and explain how this is a case of mass mobilization that occurred in a competitive authoritarian context, but also that is a far more “typical” example (rather than an outlier) of protest mobilization occurring in political repressive contexts. We propose both empirical and methodological guidance for the study and analysis of such cases, whilst warning against accepting initial reports of mass protest phenomena at face value. Examining how each study presented in this special issue makes a measured and innovative empirical and conceptual contribution, correcting or revisiting accepted “truths,” providing a new framing and/or analyzing original data. The case of Belarus before and after August 2020 underlines the importance and the empirical and ethical challenges of studying stability and change in public opinion and state-society relations in authoritarian settings.
- media consumption
- public opinion