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Volume 33, Issue 1
Summer 2008
Abstract

July 01 2008
Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict
Maria J. Stephan ,
Maria J. Stephan
Maria J. Stephan is Director of Educational Initiatives at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.
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Erica Chenoweth
Erica Chenoweth
Erica Chenoweth is Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
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Author and Article Information
Maria J. Stephan
Maria J. Stephan is Director of Educational Initiatives at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.
Erica Chenoweth
Erica Chenoweth is Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Online Issn: 1531-4804
Print Issn: 0162-2889
© 2008 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
2008
International Security (2008) 33 (1): 7–44.
https://doi.org/10.1162/isec.2008.33.1.7Citation
Maria J. Stephan, Erica Chenoweth; Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. International Security 2008; 33 (1): 7–44. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/isec.2008.33.1.7
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Abstract
The historical record indicates that nonviolent campaigns have been more successful than armed campaigns in achieving ultimate goals in political struggles, even when used against similar opponents and in the face of repression. Nonviolent campaigns are more likely to win legitimacy, attract widespread domestic and international support, neutralize the opponent's security forces, and compel loyalty shifts among erstwhile opponent supporters than are armed campaigns, which enjoin the active support of a relatively small number of people, offer the opponent a justification for violent counterattacks, and are less likely to prompt loyalty shifts and defections. An original, aggregate data set of all known major nonviolent and violent resistance campaigns from 1900 to 2006 is used to test these claims. These dynamics are further explored in case studies of resistance campaigns in Southeast Asia that have featured periods of both violent and nonviolent resistance.
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© 2008 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
2008
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