Ashley Fabrizio - Ethnic Mobilization after Provoked and Unprovoked Repressions

Mon, Nov 16 2020, 11:30am - 12:30pm
Ashley Fabrizio

Though frameworks for understanding government repression abound, few take into account these repressions’ origins and political context. In this paper I contribute a new framework for understanding coercive governance: that every act of government repression is either “provoked” or “unprovoked” by the targeted group. To determine whether or not a particular repressive effort is provoked, I ask: By what deliberative, procedural, or thought process did the repression come about? In the context of relations between ethnic groups and states, this determination is important for understanding and anticipating levels of political mobilization by co-ethnics. For the case of Kurd-State relations in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey from 1917-2013, 41% of all governments’ repressive efforts are unprovoked, or not directly precipitated by previous dissent. Governments initiate and implement unprovoked repressions for political reasons other than specific instances of dissent, including nation-building projects, domestic and foreign pressures, and moments of regime or leadership change. This study examines the effects of both unprovoked and provoked anti-Kurd repressions on Kurdish nationalist mobilization levels one to ten years later. Provoked and unprovoked repressions of Kurds both tend to increase Kurdish mobilization levels, but certain substantive types—particularly political exclusions, martial law and curfews in the short term, and ethnic bans and forced relocations in the long term—differentially affect short and long term mobilization by co-ethnics.


Stanford political science PhD student Ashley Fabrizio is a recipient of the Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar Dissertation Fellowship, awarded by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). The fellowship provides $20,000 to support her dissertation writing and research on peacebuilding and conflict management in the final year of her PhD program.

Through her research, Fabrizio seeks to understand why governments repress their minority ethnic groups and how different types of repression affect large-scale political mobilization by these groups in support of their rights, autonomy, and political independence. Her dissertation, Contingent Radicalization: Government Repression’s Differential Effect on Ethnonationalist Mobilization, analyzes the political mobilization and government coercion of ethnic Kurds in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey since World War I.

Fabrizio’s research has also been supported by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, the Europe Center at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies and the American Political Science Association Centennial Center.