rls International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter-Strategies

Shedding light on different aspects of authoritarian ideologies, movements, and governments, and discuss emancipatory alternatives.


Around the world, we see a resurgence of reactionary nationalist, religious, racist, classist, and anti-feminist ideologies and movements, as well as the accelerated undermining of democratic political systems accompanied by “shrinking spaces” for civil-society actors. The International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter-Strategies (IRGAC) aims to zoom in on the regional and global interconnections of authoritarian capitalism and reactionary populism and place them at the centre of scholarly debates.

The group brings together more than 15 scholar-activists from countries of the Global South with the goal of combining in-depth studies of national, regional, and local processes of socioeconomic transformation and politics with a global perspective that recognizes and analyzes the universal manifestations of authoritarian capitalism and universalizing processes that lie beyond the “rising tide” of authoritarianism. At the same time, we propose an internationalist perspective on local and regional counter-strategies, a perspective that, while discussing alternative paths and concrete, popular resistance strategies, campaigns, and initiatives, inquires about their potential to pave the way towards internationalist emancipatory transformative strategies.

The IRGAC currently assembles 12 post-doc fellows working at research institutions in the Global South who are fully funded by the Stiftung’s Global Scholarly Dialogue Programme, as well as a growing number of associated fellows and guest fellows from different countries whose research stays at German universities are funded by the RLS. The group is coordinated by Börries Nehe together with Jan-David Echterhoff.

The IRGAC holds regular on- and offline meetings and workshops to further develop and sharpen what we understand as global perspectives from the South on authoritarian capitalism and counter-strategies, and we publish new findings and research excerpts on its website. Together with the Regional Offices of the RLS and various research institutions based in Germany, we regularly publish calls for short-term research fellowships in Germany and cooperative South-South research projects.

Visit the IRGAC website for further information and full access to articles on authoritarianism and counter-strategies from around the Global South.