What explains sustained mobilization — social movement resilience — in the face of severe autocratic repression? This question is especially relevant given the recent uptick in protest movements across the world. We examine this question through the case of Sudan’s popular uprising, which lasted from December 2018 until the country began a formal transition to democracy in July 2019. Drawing on in-depth field research during and after the uprising, we look at the role of organizational legitimacy, elite unity, and the evolution of repression evasion tactics. We find that the movement’s organizational form and mobilization tactics coevolved with the actions of the security apparatus.
Mai Hassan is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and a current visiting fellow at CASBS. Her work has been published in various outlets, including the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Democracy, and the Journal of Politics. She received her PhD in Government from Harvard University in 2014.