Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict

Monday 8 January 2024

Chenoweth, Erica, and Maria Stephan. U.S.A.: Columbia University Press, 2011.

This book takes an academic and data-based approach to exploring the efficacy of nonviolent civil resistance to transform, and to make more peaceful, societies ruled by tyrannical or authoritarian regimes. Subjects covered include why nonviolent civil resistance works, case studies such as Iranian and Palestinian revolutions, and the conditions under which nonviolent civil resistance fails. Particularly noteworthy is their dive into the merits of nonviolent civil resistance in comparison to the limitations of violent civil resistance; the authors present novel research into the likelihood a society will revert to civil war after a successful violent uprising, and the likelihood of democratic consolidation after nonviolent campaigns. The book’s pragmatism removes the moral or emotional debates between violent versus nonviolent civil resistance, or even legal versus illegal means of peacebuilding, but instead presents a compelling case for nonviolent civil resistance as one of the most effective tools for a disenfranchised population to build sustainable peace. This entry would be particularly helpful for those interested in grassroots peacebuilding, activism, and justice.

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1 thoughts on "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict"

  • Teddy Henderson
    Teddy Henderson
    Monday 29 January 2024, 1.58pm

    Intrigued in light of recently reading one of Johan Galtungs articles about personal violence and social injustice and his discussion of the potential trade off: to create change in a repressive society, must the levels of personal violence increase?


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