Eyes wide shut: democratic reversals, scientific closure, and the study of politics in Eurasia

J. Paul Goode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)
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Objectives: The article examines the relationship between democratic reversals and scientific closure. It focuses on the effects that authoritarian and hybrid regimes are likely to have on the ways scholars study them and conduct their fieldwork.

Method: Thematic content analysis of articles on Eurasian politics published over a ten year period, with particular attention paid to reported methods and fieldwork.  

Results: Scientific closure had as much to do with research cycles in the discipline as with democratic reversals. Notions of the region as democratizing persisted into the 2000s as scholars recycled data and conceptual frames from the 1990s. Fieldwork-driven research was more likely to detect autocratization.

Conclusion: While disciplinary consensus re-framed the region as autocratizing, the field remains vulnerable to scientific closure. Aside from the challenges posed by autocracies for fieldwork, the new disciplinary consensus may deter qualitative fieldwork and innovation in studying authoritarianism in Eurasia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)876-893
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date28 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2016


  • Comparative politics
  • Methodology
  • authoritarianism
  • Democratisation
  • Eurasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science


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