Dominant approaches to political repression, which rely on linear analytic models and focus on discrete state agencies or repressive forms, obscure the complex organization and impacts of enforcement networks. Building on recent investigations of collective action fields and arenas of political contention, we develop a relational approach to political repression emphasizing joint actions to suppress challenges to the political status quo. We use fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to examine enforcement networks that mobilized against challenges to segregation in early-1960s Mississippi, identifying four distinct enforcement configurations which maintained segregation across the state's eighty-two counties. We then analyze the processes that undergird these configurations of enforcement using archival data associated with representative counties. Our approach demonstrates the emergent logic of enforcement— i.e., how particular enforcement activities developed jointly, rather than only in parallel, with those initiated by other authorities.
CONFIGURING POLITICAL REPRESSION: ANTI-CIVIL RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT IN MISSISSIPPI*
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David Cunningham, Geoff Ward, Peter B. Owens; CONFIGURING POLITICAL REPRESSION: ANTI-CIVIL RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT IN MISSISSIPPI. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 1 September 2019; 24 (3): 319–343. doi: https://doi.org/10.17813/1086-671X-24-3-319
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