There is strong empirical evidence that COVID-19 acts as a booster for processes of global autocratization in which autocratic protagonists present themselves as more effective role models in fighting the pandemic than the ‘liberal script’ of Western societies. This project aims at explaining these corridors of autocratic collaboration based on the example of Sino-Gulf relations that challenge Europe’s and Germany’s international alliances and partnerships. The project consists of two research blocs: Firstly, it deals with the traveling of autocratic practices and asks how global autocratic collaboration manifests itself in times of crises. Secondly, the project addresses questions of competition for China’s favor: How are regional actors competing in terms of their ‘special relations’ with China?

Duration: February 2021 – July 2022

Team: Tobias Zumbrägel (contact person), Thomas Demmelhuber, Julia Gurol

Partner: Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg; Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg

Donor: VolkswagenStiftung

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