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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Knowledge and know-how: a new model of academic freedom and dissent in non-democratic countries Hancock, Lynn Marissa


For scholars of political change, the Arab Spring movements constitute a major world event with both obvious short-term consequences and more elusive long-term and diffusion effects. This thesis contributes to the literature on regime change and political dissent by modelling the conditions under which one key group of elites (academics) are most likely to take-up an anti-state platform in the wake of a key world event such as the Arab Spring. Ultimately, the herein proposed model hypothesizes the relationship between the likelihood of an academic dissent movement and three country-level indicators: (1) the level of legal protections for academics, (2) feelings of relative economic, social, and academic deprivation by university faculty, and (3) the social and scholarly prestige associated with the social sciences and humanities (SSaH) in comparison with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In addition to a literature review and formal model construction, the thesis includes a focused discussion of a mixed-methods approach to the study of academic dissent in non-democratic countries. Bringing such methods as Cost-Benefit Analysis, qualitative interviewing, J-Curve modelling, and ex-ante hypothesizing to bear on the study of academic dissent, opens a previously understudied area of inquiry to rigorous empirical testing.

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