A Theory of Nonviolent Action How Civil Resistance Works

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-02-01
  • Publisher: Zed Books

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In this ground-breaking and much-needed book, Stellan Vinthagen provides the first major systematic attempt to develop a theory of nonviolent action since Gene Sharp's seminal The Politics of Nonviolent Action in 1973.

Employing a rich collection of historical and contemporary social movements from various parts of the world as examples - from the civil rights movement in America to anti-Apartheid protestors in South Africa to Gandhi and his followers in India - and addressing core theoretical issues concerning nonviolent action in an innovative, penetrating way, he argues for a repertoire of nonviolence that combines resistance and construction. This repertoire is shown to be both multidimensional and contradictory, creating difficult contradictions within nonviolence, while simultaneously providing its creative and transformative force.

Essential for anyone involved with nonviolent action who wants to think about what they are doing

Author Biography

Stellan Vinthagen is Associate Professor in Sociology and Senior Lecturer in Peace and Development Studies at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He is also a Council Member of War Resisters International, academic advisor to the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), and co-founder of the Resistance Studies Network (www.resistancestudies.org). He has since 1980 been an educator, organizer and activist, and has participated in more than 30 nonviolent civil disobedience actions, for which he has served in total more than one year in prison.

Table of Contents

1. 'Nonviolent Action'
2. Nonviolent Action Studies - Morality vs. Strategy 
3. The History of Nonviolent Action - A Geneaology of a Concept and its Practice 
4. Defining Nonviolent Action
5. The Social Rationality of Nonviolent Action 
6. Communicative Rationality of Nonviolent Action - Nonviolent Dialogue Facilitation
7. Goal Rationality of Nonviolent Action - Nonviolent Power Breaking
8. Expressive Rationality of Nonviolent Action - Nonviolent Utopian Enactment
9. Normative Rationality of Nonviolent Action - Nonviolent Normative Regulation
10. The Creative and Dialectic Force of Nonviolent Action

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