ICNC Monograph Series
The ICNC Research Monograph Series aims to connect research and practice. Drawing on scholarly literature and high quality analytical and empirical analyses equal to that of a serious academic publication, monographs aim to enrich public discourse by expanding scientific knowledge in the field of civil resistance and providing general and specific recommendations for practitioners such as activists, organizers, journalists, and members of INGOs and the policy community.
- enrich scholarly understanding and knowledge of specific phenomena and case studies of civil resistance and nonviolent movements and campaigns;
- enhance the strategic practice of civil resistance by elaborating on a topic of relevance to activists and organizers;
- improve understanding of civil resistance by members of the policy and development community;
- provide insight into popular media coverage of civil resistance to improve media literacy and reporting by journalists;
- develop robust conceptual frameworks for understanding the nature, dynamics, power and impact of civil resistance movements.
Scholars as well as practitioners with expertise in the field of civil resistance are encouraged to apply and submit their proposals in response to the call. All monographs published from 2016 onward are peer-reviewed by at least two external reviewers.
Digital monograph copies are available free of charge on the ICNC website and print and e-book copies can be ordered on demand online via an international provider. We price monographs at-cost to maximize their availability and affordability.
The Editor of the ICNC Monograph Series is ICNC’s Senior Director for Education and Research, Dr. Maciej Bartkowski.
Why do some nonviolent revolutions lead to successful democratization while others fail to consolidate democratic change? And what can activists do to push toward a victory over dictatorship that results in long-term political freedom?
Several studies show that nonviolent revolutions are generally a more positive force for democratization than violent revolutions and top-down political transitions. However, some nonviolent revolutions, such as the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt, do not seem to fi t this pattern. This study takes on this puzzle and reveals that the answer lies in large part in the actions of civil society prior to and during transition. Democracy is most likely when activists can keep their social bases mobilized for positive political change while directing that mobilization toward building new political institutions.
Nations are not helpless if the military decides to stage a coup. On dozens of occasions in recent decades, even in the face of intimidated political leaders and international indifference, civil society has risen up to challenge putschists through large-scale nonviolent direct action and noncooperation. How can an unarmed citizenry mobilize so quickly and defeat a powerful military committed to seizing control of the government? What accounts for the success or failure of nonviolent resistance movements to reverse coups and consolidate democratic gains?
This monograph presents in-depth case studies and analysis intended to improve our understanding of the strategic utility of civil resistance against military takeovers; the nature of civil resistance mobilization against coups; and the role of civil resistance against coups in countries’ subsequent democratization efforts (or failure thereof). It offers key lessons for pro-democracy activists and societies vulnerable to military usurpation of power; national civilian and military bureaucracies; external state and non-state agencies supportive of democracy; and future scholarship on this subject.
International human rights law did not come into existence top-down, out of the benevolent intentions of states, even though states eventually began to recognize that large-scale human rights abuses could pose a threat to the international order. Rather, it came into existence from the bottom-up efforts of ordinary people in civil society to ally with each other in solidarity and demand their rights, often through organized nonviolent campaigns and movements that pressured elites and powerholders to recognize or grant individual rights (freedom for slaves, women’s rights, labor rights, and children’s rights, to name a few). Unlike international law generally, the real source of international human rights law has been the coordinated, organized and nonviolently forceful efforts of individuals—in other words, what one can refer to as people power.
How can we understand when nonviolent movements will stay nonviolent? When are they likely to break down into violence? In this monograph, Jonathan Pinckney analyzes what promotes and undermines nonviolent discipline in civil resistance movements. Combining quantitative research on thousands of nonviolent and violent actions with a detailed comparison of three relevant case studies of civil resistance during the “Color Revolutions,” Pinckney’s analysis provides important lessons for activists and organizers on the front lines, as well as for practitioners whose work may impact the outcomes of nonviolent struggles. We learn how repression consistently induces violence, as do government concessions. On the flip side, we see that structuring a campaign in an inclusive and non-hierarchical way is conducive to greater nonviolent discipline.
Contrary to a perception — fueled by Chinese propaganda during the 2008 Tibetan uprising that the Tibetan struggle is heading toward extremism, this study shows that the movement has since the 1950s moved toward a tighter embrace of nonviolent resistance. The study traces this evolution, analyzing the central themes, purposes, challenges, strategies, tactics and impacts of three major Tibetan uprisings over the past six decades.
Tibetans are now waging a quiet, slow-building nonviolent movement, centered on strengthening the Tibetan national and cultural fabric via what the author refers to as transformative resistance. This is happening in an immensely repressive political environment, which shows that there is a way to mobilize people power against even one of the most ruthless regimes in the world.
Confronted with civil war, local civilians typically either collaborate with the strongest actor in town or flee the area. Yet civilians are not stuck inexorably within this dichotomous choice. Collectively defying armed groups by engaging in organized nonviolent forms of noncooperation, self-organization and disruption is another option. This monograph explores this option through sustained and organized civil resistance led by ordinary peasants against state and non-state repressive actors in Colombia’s longstanding civil war: the case of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó.
- Read Masullo’s article “Villagers stand up for peace in Colombia’s civil war”.
- Read “Campesinos colombianos que defienden la paz” (en español).
Revisiting the Methods of Nonviolent Action (tentative title)
By: Michael Beer
Abstract: Revisiting the Methods of Nonviolent Action adds new methods of nonviolent action to the classic list of 198 methods categorized by Gene Sharp in 1973 in his book, The Methods of Nonviolent Action. This monograph maintains that nonviolent action encompasses a large category of human activity and that new and old tactics are employed daily. It also analyzes strengths and weaknesses of Dr. Sharp’s typologies, proposes helpful new categories of nonviolent action, and documents additional methods of nonviolent action and new scholarship from the fields of civil resistance, human rights defense, and social change.
The monograph concludes with a summary of lessons learned and how they are relevant for practitioners, educators, and scholars of civil resistance. Recommendations are made for further application and research.
Prison Hunger Strikes as Civil Resistance: A Global Perspective on Political Resistance in Prisons (tentative title)
By: Malaka Shwaikh & Rebecca Ruth Gould
This monograph examines six different global contexts wherein prison hunger strikes have been used as a tool of civil resistance, with a specific focus on hunger strikes among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails from 1948 to the present. Drawing on first-hand interviews, archival research, and primary and secondary research in many languages, the authors examine how hunger strikes have generated solidarity among prison populations from Palestine, South Africa, and Northern Ireland to Iran, Turkey, and the United States. They offer an innovative typology for the effectiveness of hunger strikes and other forms of civil resistance across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America that foregrounds the differences and similarities between prison strikes in regimes of occupation and apartheid and within liberal democracies. Addressed to both academics and practitioners, this is the first monograph to offer a comparative account of prison hunger strikes on a global scale, and to incorporate findings from international law, legal anthropology, political theory, and sociology into a broad theory of the capacity of nonviolent civil resistance to bring about measurable political change.
Agents Provocateurs, Violent Flanks, and Nonviolent Movements: A Historical and Strategic Perspective (tentative title)
By: Tom Hastings & Adam Vogal
When governments and opponents infiltrate civil society resistance campaigns, organizations, or movements, what do they do and what are the effects of such covert operations? These questions are not well understood and not studied systematically in relation to known and rumored cases of state infiltration in civil society resistance movements with the goals ranging from gathering intelligence to discrediting a movement to inducing shifts in their nonviolent tactics in favor of violence. This study attempts to provide a framework for understanding the strategic implications for activists of the use of agents provocateurs and other forms of covert action.
Material Resources Mobilization and Palestinian Nonviolent Popular Resistance Campaigns in Area C (tentative title)
By: Mahmoud Soliman
This research focuses on 10 specific nonviolent Palestinian campaigns in Area C where Palestinians are living under full Israeli control that restricts the use of material and represses Palestinian communities. These communities suffer from the lack of skills, democracy, and unity among national liberation movements. Despite these challenges, grassroots activists have been able to generate, manage, and use material resources. This research explores the ways material resources are funded from a wide range of actors, the ways in which grassroots activists have been able to manage and use material resources in these campaigns, and analyzes the impacts of internal and external material resources on advancing nonviolent campaigns.
Social Movements and Material Resources in Northwest Mexico (tentative title)
By: Chris Allan and Scott DuPree
Mexico has a long history of social movements grappling with fundamental issues of social justice. This study looks at the issue of what material resources are the most useful to social movement organizations, in particular understanding the difference between external and internal support strategies. We believe material resources cannot been seen as separate from the social narratives associated with these resources. Our research hypothesis is, thus, that movements are able to build and mobilize material resources most effectively when they come from within their movements. Research results, we expect, will offer a practical way to map material resources that can guide understanding of how movements can expand their resource base.
The Impact of Nonviolent Resistance on Civil War Resolution (tentative title)
By: Luke Abbs
In recent years, a burgeoning literature has explored the strategic advantages of using nonviolent resistance to achieve positive political outcomes, such as regime change and democratization. Yet, despite one-fifth of large-scale nonviolent campaigns occurring during the course of a civil war, we know little about the affect nonviolent resistance might have on the transformation of armed conflict. Bringing together the previously isolated literatures on nonviolent resistance and peacebuilding, this manuscript explores how nonviolent resistance can aid peacebuilding efforts that transform ongoing armed conflict, using data on all civil wars episodes since 1945. The finding show nonviolent resistance does have a positive impact on the resolution of armed conflict, with evidence deriving from a Large-N statistical analysis, out-of-sample prediction and structured-focused case studies.
External Support for Nonviolent Campaigns (tentative title)
By: Erica Chenoweth & Maria J. Stephan
This monograph draws from an ICNC-sponsored multi-year research project that examines the effects of different forms of external aid on the outcomes and longer-term impacts of civil resistance campaigns. Very little research has systematically investigated the impacts of external support on the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance. Existing research reaches somewhat contradictory conclusions, with some finding that external support for nonviolent campaigns is harmful, that external support is sometimes helpful, or that external support has little observable effect. This study will assess different types of external – material and non-material – assistance to civil resistance movements offered by state ad non-state actors at different stages of civil resistance: pre, during and post-conflict periods. Finally, it will evaluate the impact of the specific type of aid, its timing and provisions by different actors on the overall trajectories of civil resistance campaigns and their outcomes.
Civil Resistance against Climate Change: Strategies, Tactics and Outcomes of a National Climate Change Movement in Australia (tentative title)
By: Robyn Gulliver, Kelly Fielding, and Winnifred Louis
Transnational movements using nonviolent resistance tactics to demand action on climate change have emerged from a foundation of decades of persistent and diverse environmental activism. What are the features of this nonviolent resistance that differentiate it from previous activism? What response is this resistance prompting from political and financial entities? To investigate these questions this monograph combines a large-scale longitudinal data set on climate activism in Australia with two case studies of nonviolent resistance against corporations. Through this analysis the monograph will create an extensive empirical data set for theory-testing about climate change activism, as well as a tool to help practitioners engaged in climate activism make timely and well-informed strategic and tactical decisions.
Trust and Mobilization in Africa’s Third Wave of Protest (tentative title)
By: Jacob S. Lewis
What role does trust play in shaping the outcomes of civil resistance campaigns? Trust has been found to be a critical factor in building political and social capital, encouraging group cohesion, and overcoming collective action problems. Despite this, trust has not been directly addressed by the civil resistance scholarship. This monograph addresses this lacuna by examining how trust shapes – and is shaped by – three levels of mobilization: trust at the individual level, trust within activist groups, and trust across resistance campaigns.
Protector Institutions in Civil Resistance Struggles in Latin America (tentative title)
By: Consuelo Amat
(This writing project is currently on hold)
How can civil resistance campaigns emerge in highly repressive environments? This monograph shows that nonviolent action is possible against actors that are capable and willing to use force conditional on the presence of protector institutions. Protector institutions play an indirect role in mobilization by decreasing the cost of high-risk activism and increasing the cost of repression. The monograph examines different types of protector institutions that, with varying degrees of success, have assisted civil resistance campaigns in six countries in Latin America, including Chile, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Venezuela.