In this first AUTHLIB Working Paper, our Senior Research Fellow Zsolt Enyedi explores the ideological modules of the recent wave of autocratization and finds that the emerging illiberal alternatives are still fragmented but increasingly robust. He shows that the illiberal discourse is anti-universalist but typically not openly anti-democratic, and that it gains much of its traction from a backlash against progressive victories in the culture wars.
Appropriating anti-colonial arguments, this discourse advocates the coexistence of different political regimes while it venerates homogeneity and the centralization of power within national borders. While shifts towards autocratic structures can be non-ideological, Enyedi argues that the ideological modules of paternalist populism, illiberal conservatism, and, in certain parts of the world, civilizationist ethnocentrism constitute ideational layers that help the cause of autocratizers.
Download the paper here.