Elizabeth Meehan ‘Best Article’ Prize 2023

Our research group won the Elizabeth Meehan ‘Best Article’ Prize 2023 for their Article ‘How Authoritarianism Transforms: A Framework for the Study of Digital Democracy’

We are happy to announce that our Article ‘How Authoritarianism Transforms: A Framework for the Study of Digital Democracy’, written by Oliver Schlumberger, Mirjam Edel, Ahmed Maati and Koray Saglam won the Prize by the Journal Government and Opposition:

On behalf of the editorial board, the editors of Government and Opposition are pleased to announce the winner of the annual ‘best article’ prize, named in memory of long-time editorial board member Elizabeth Meehan (1947–2018). This prize is offered to the non-commissioned, peer-reviewed, original research article published during the previous calendar year that the editorial board members believe best represents the scholarly excellence of the journal and the tradition of commitment to public discourse on important topics in comparative politics that Government and Opposition has maintained for more than fifty years.

The 2023 prize-winning article is by Oliver Schlumberger (University of Tübingen), Mirjam Edel (University of Tübingen), Ahmed Maati (Technical University of Munich) and Koray Saglam (University of Tübingen): ‘How Authoritarianism Transforms: A Framework for the Study of Digital Democracy’.

The article presents a compelling argument for the significance and urgency of understanding the impact of digital technologies on authoritarian politics. The emphasis on the lack of analytical tools within political science to comprehend these effects highlights a crucial gap in current scholarship. The paper’s approach, departing from a focus on technical innovation to instead explore the inner logic of authoritarianism, showcases its originality and theoretical depth. By mapping the ways in which autocrats leverage digital technologies to consolidate power, the paper offers a timely and substantial contribution to the field. The identification of seven core areas where dictatorial politics undergo transformation due to technological advancements provides a structured framework for analysis. This theoretical groundwork is valuable for scholars and policymakers seeking to comprehend the complexities of digitized dictatorships.

We are very pleased to have selected this article, which is a terrific example of collaborative work. We particularly welcome the focus on the wider comparative issues that were so central to the work of Professor Meehan. The selection committee were delighted to acknowledge this significant contribution to the study of relations between rulers and the ruled and the exploration of how digitalization impacts politics, as an exciting and important contribution to this international field of study.