Thursday, April 8, 2010
12:00pm – 1:00pm EST
Dr. Erica Chenoweth, Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University looks at the strategic advantage of nonviolent struggle and civil resistance. Armed insurgency may have triumphed in the Algerian war of independence, the Chinese Revolution, and the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan. These cases, among others, have convinced many observers that violent insurgency is likely to succeed. Moreover, insurgents often claim that they turn to violence as a last resort, having exhausted all other methods of seeking redress for their grievances.
Professor Chenoweth challenges both claims, arguing that nonviolent resistance has actually been more effective in the 20th century than violent resistance. She presents a new data set, which provides robust statistical evidence of the strategic superiority of nonviolent resistance, even in cases where the opponent regime is brutal. The research implies that violent resistance is seldom necessary, as many insurgents claim. Rather, civil resistance can be an effective substitute for insurgency in civil wars.