Ghosts of the Black Decade: How legacies of violence shaped Algeria’s Hirak protests

M. Tahir Kilavuz, Sharan Grewal, Robert Kubinec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Episodes of mass political violence, such as genocide and civil war, have been thought to both encourage and discourage future political mobilization. We square these competing hypotheses by disaggregating between protest onset and resilience. We argue that exposure to mass violence decades ago should on average decrease protest onset, by heightening fears of repression and retribution. However, conditional on protesting, prior exposure to violence should increase protest longevity, by generating greater political grievances that fuel commitment to the cause. We find evidence of both effects in Algeria during the 2019–20 Hirak protests that toppled President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Pairing an original dataset on massacres during the 1990s civil war with a rolling online survey of 18,000 Algerians in 2019–20, we find that areas exposed to greater violence in the 1990s had on average fewer, but more committed, protesters in 2019–20.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-25
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Algeria
  • legacies of violence
  • protest
  • revolution
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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