Illiberal resistance to democratic backsliding : the case of radical political Islam in Indonesia

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationDemocratization
Online published21 May 2023
Publication statusOnline published - 21 May 2023


Democratic backsliding in many world regions has prompted scholars to study how democracies can resist and push back against autocratization, and many accounts suggest that a unified, pluralist opposition is key to mobilize voters against democratic backsliding. However, pluralist ideology is not necessarily associated with higher awareness of and opposition to backsliding, as evaluations of democratic erosions are highly contingent on political context. We illustrate this point with the case of Indonesia, a country where a pluralist government coalition has deepened democratic erosion by harshly repressing an anti-pluralist Islamist opposition. Using data from a national survey, we document that Islamist Indonesians are systematically more likely than pluralist individuals to believe that democracy has worsened: Resistance to democratic erosion is thus concentrated in the most ideologically illiberal citizens. Rethinking the pluralist/anti-pluralist dichotomy has implications for how we conceptualize democratic backsliding and assess democratic resilience. © 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Research Area(s)

  • Democratic backsliding, Indonesia, Political Islam