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Government Use of Social Control to Address Political Violence and Dissent

Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy

ISBN: 978-1-78756-049-9, eISBN: 978-1-78756-048-2

ISSN: 2053-7697

Publication date: 4 July 2019


Internationally, dissent is often handled differently with much less tolerance and often a more confrontational response by the state. For example, following the Arab Spring and passage of restrictive laws to prohibit influencing public opinion, Saudi Arabia has seen a rise in political arrests as the state uses its authority to suppress political competitors and consolidate power. The State Security Agency, overseen by the king, claimed in September 2017 that a group of academics, scholars, writers, and leading Islamist figures were inciting violence and called for their arrest. This wave of arrests along with several prior ones and state exercise of media control, exemplifies Saudi Arabia’s desire to suppress dissent by exercising state control. In Venezuela, a law prohibiting messages of hate from being transmitted via broadcast and social media was passed, carrying a possible sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted. The Assembly claimed the law was intended to promote “peace, tolerance, equality, and respect,” but it has been criticized for suppressing extremist sectors of right-wing political groups in the country. Additional case studies of Uganda’s use of military forces to control public outcry over corruption and deteriorating public services will also be evaluated.



Wheat, E. (2019), "Government Use of Social Control to Address Political Violence and Dissent", Rabe-Hemp, C.E. and Lind, N.S. (Ed.) Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy (Public Policy and Governance, Vol. 31), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 225-243.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, by Elizabeth Wheat