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Global Change, Peace & Security
formerly Pacifica Review: Peace, Security & Global Change
Volume 26, 2014 - Issue 3
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The failure of strategic nonviolent action in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Syria: ‘political ju-jitsu’ in reverse
Thomas Richard Davies
Pages 299-313 | Published online: 26 Jun 2014
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This article seeks to advance understanding of strategic nonviolent action through providing a more comprehensive assessment of the factors that may contribute towards the failure of nonviolent campaigns than has been undertaken to date. It disaggregates the wide range of international and national circumstances relevant to the failure of nonviolent action, illustrated with reference to experience of nonviolent action in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Syria since 2011. Through exploring these cases, the article proceeds to reveal how adherence to the assumed principles of nonviolent strategy may be insufficient in contributing towards success. It concludes by outlining four pathways by which nonviolent strategy may contribute towards its own failure, including its supersession by armed conflict.
Keywords: strategic nonviolent action‘Arab spring’civil resistancenonviolence
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Notes on contributor
Dr Thomas Davies is Senior Lecturer in International Politics in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at the City University London. He is the author of two research monographs, NGOs: A New History of Transnational Civil Society (London: Hurst, 2013), and The Possibilities of Transnational Activism: The Campaign for Disarmament between the Two World Wars (Leiden and Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 2007). Dr Davies was previously Research Associate of the University of Oxford's project on Civil Resistance and Power Politics.
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