Johannes Gerschewski - EDP Network Johannes Gerschewski - EDP Network

Johannes Gerschewski

EDP Network Member

Johannes Gerschewski has been a Visiting Professor of Political Theory and History of Ideas at Leibniz University Hannover since October 2023. Between 2018 and 2019, he worked as a research associate at the School of Politics at the Technical University of Munich, and from 2016 to 2018, he held the same position in the Department of Comparative Analysis of Political Systems at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Before joining Humboldt University, he was a research associate in the “Democracy and Democratization” department at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center from 2011 to 2016, where he co-led a DFG research project on “Critical Junctures and the Survival of Autocracies” with Wolfgang Merkel. His research interests lie in comparative regime studies, the analysis of democratization processes and methodological foundations. Currently, Johannes is working on the stability of authoritarian regimes in East Asia and examining questions of legitimacy in young democracies and autocracies.

In 2014, Johannes obtained his PhD “summa cum laude” from Humboldt University Berlin. His disseratation examined, from a historical-comparative perspective, the stabilizing conditions of authoritarian regimes in East Asia since 1945. Johannes argues that the complementarity between the “three pillars of stability” – legitimation, repression and co-optation – as well as their internal institutionalization, sustains an autocracy. He has begun publishing on these topics.

During his time at WZB, Johannes helped launch the methodologically oriented “Berlin Summer School in Social Sciences”. Between 2001 and 2008, Johannes studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Magister) as welll as Languages, Economics and Cultural Area Studies (Diploma) in Passau, Berlin and Seoul before working for a year at the GIGA Institute for Asian Studies in Hamburg. In 2014, Johannes was a guest at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

More about Johannes Gerschewski here.

Contact: johannes.gerschewski [at]

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Publications by Johannes Gerschewski

Johannes Gerschewski | 2023

The Two Logics of Autocratic Rule

Cambridge University Press

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Johannes Gerschewski, Anja Neundorf, Aykut Öztürk, Ksenia Northmore-Ball, Katerina Tertytchnaya | 2022

A Loyal Base: Support for Authoritarian Regimes in Times of Crisis

in: OSF Preprints

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Johannes Gerschewski, Constantine Boussalis, Alexander Dukalskis | 2022

Why It Matters What Autocrats Say: Assessing Competing Theories of Propaganda

in: Problems of Post-Communism

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Johannes Gerschewski, Michael Zürn | 2021

Sketching the Liberal Script. A Target of Contestations

SCRIPTS Working Paper No. 10

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Johannes Gerschewski | 2021

Explanations of Institutional Change. Reflecting on a ‘Missing Diagonal’

in: American Political Science Review, 115:1, 218-233.

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Johannes Gerschewski | 2021

Erosion or Decay? Conceptualizing Causes and Mechanisms of Democratic Regression

In: Democratization, 28:1, 43-62.  

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Johannes Gerschewski, Marcus Tannenberg, Michael Bernhard, Anna Lührmann, Christian von Soest | 2020

Claiming the right to rule: regime legitimation strategies from 1900 to 2019

In: European Political Science Review, Online First, 4 December 2020.

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Johannes Gerschewski, Alexander Dukalskis | 2020

Adapting or Freezing? Ideological Reactions of Communist Regimes to a Post-Communist World

in: Government and Opposition, 55:3, 511-532.

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Johannes Gerschewski, Frédéric Volpi | 2020

Crises and Critical Junctures in Authoritarian Regimes: Addressing Uprisings’ Temporalities and Discontinuities

In: Third World Quarterly, 41:3, 1030-1045.  

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Johannes Gerschewski | 2020

Governing Markets in Autocratic Regimes

In: Abbott, Kenneth W./Zangl, Bernhard/Snidal, Duncan/Genschel, Philipp (Eds.): The Governor’s Dilemma. Indirect Governance Beyond Principals and Agents. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 239-256.  

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Johannes Gerschewski, Wolfgang Merkel | 2019

Democratic Transformation after the Second World War

in: Kollmorgen, Raj/Merkel, Wolfgang/Wagener, Hans-Jürgen (Eds.): Oxford Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 280-292.

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Johannes Gerschewski, Anja Neundorf , Roman-Gabriel Olar | 2019

How Do Inclusionary and Exclusionary Autocracies Affect Ordinary People?

in: Comparative Political Studies (online first).

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Johannes Gerschewski, Alexander Dukalskis | 2018

How the Internet Can Reinforce Authoritarian Regimes

in: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 19, 12-19.

Johannes Gerschewski | 2018

Legitimacy in Autocracies: Oxymoron or Essential Feature?

in: Perspectives on Politics 16:3, 652-665.

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Johannes Gerschewski, Alexander Dukalskis | 2018

Justifying Dictatorship


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Johannes Gerschewski, Christoph H. Stefes | 2018

Crisis in Autocratic Regimes

Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

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Johannes Gerschewski | 2017

Analyzing Crises in Autocratic Regimes

in: Gerschewski, Johannes/Stefes, Christoph H. (eds): Crisis in Authocratic Regimes, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, forthcoming.

Johannes Gerschewski | 2017

The three pillars and the survival of electoral autocracies – A reply

in: Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft 11: 2, 237-246.

Johannes Gerschewski, Kressen Thyen | 2017

Legitimacy and protest under authoritarianism: explaining student mobilization in Egypt and Morocco during the Arab uprisings

in: Democratization, published online: 25 April 2017.

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Johannes Gerschewski, Alexander Dukalskis | 2017

What autocracies say (and what citizens hear): proposing four mechanisms of autocratic legitimation

in: Contemporary Politics, published online: 16 March 2017.

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Johannes Gerschewski | 2016

Do Ideocracies Constitute a Distinct Subtype of Autocratic Regimes?

in: Backes, Uwe/Kailitz, Steffen (eds): Ideocracies in Comparison, London: Routledge, 88-105.

Johannes Gerschewski, Wolfgang Merkel | 2014

Stabilität autokratischer Herrschaft

in: Braml, Josef/Merkel, Wolfgang/Sandschneider, Eberhard (eds.): Außenpolitik mit Autokratien, DGAP-Jahrbuch Internationale Politik, Munich: Oldenbourg, 43-56.

Wolfgang Merkel, Johannes Gerschewski | 2014

Demokratische Transformationen nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg

in: Kollmorgen, Raj/Merkel, Wolfgang/Wagener, Hans-Jürgen (eds.), Handbuch Transformationsforschung, Wiesbaden: VS Springer, 339-353.

Johannes Gerschewski | 2013

The Three Pillars of Stability: Legitimation, Repression, and Cooptation in Autocratic Regimes

in: Democratization 20: 1, 13-38.  [Recipient of the Frank Cass Prize for the Best Article by a Young Scholar; most read article of Democratization in 2013]

Johannes Gerschewski | 2013

Ideokratien als autokratischer Subtypus?

in: Kailitz, Steffen/Backes, Uwe (eds.): Ideokratien im Vergleich, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 95-112.

Johannes Gerschewski, Wolfgang Merkel, et al. | 2012

Warum überleben Autokratien?

in: Politische Vierteljahrsschrift, Sonderheft 47, 106-131.

Johannes Gerschewski, Patrick Köllner | 2011

Überlebensstrategien des post-totalitären Regimes in Nordkorea

in: ASIEN 119, 67-78.

Johannes Gerschewski | 2010

Zur Persistenz von Autokratien. Ein Literaturüberblick

in: Berliner Debatte Initial 21: 3, 42-53.

Martin Beck, Johannes Gerschewski | 2009

On the Fringes of the International Community. The Making and Survival of ‘Rogue States’

in: Security and Peace 27: 2, 84-90.

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