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A. 6. Nonviolent Action and Social Movements

Volume One -> A. Introduction to Nonviolent Action -> A. 6. Nonviolent Action and Social Movements

Since the 1950s nonviolent forms of protest such as boycotts, civil disobedience, sit-ins, occupation of public spaces and forming of human chains have become central to a wide range of social movements, including those against racial, ethnic and gender discrimination, resistance to wars and conscription, environmental campaigns, opposition to government or corporate corruption and mobilization against economic injustice. In response to the range and significance of these movements and their tactics many books and articles have been published. These include personal and more scholarly accounts of particular movements. Analysts of nonviolent action have also noted the imaginative extension of the already wide range of possible methods of protest developed in earlier centuries.

A specific academic literature has also developed since the 1970s that analyses and compares particular movements, debates the underlying social trends encouraging their emergence, their social composition, organisational modes and tactics, and transmission of protest ‘repertoires’. This literature has developed a variety of theoretical frameworks and a new vocabulary to explain what is now often called ‘contentious politics’. Theorists of social movements have not generally shown much interest in the theory and strategy of nonviolent action per se, but a younger generation of scholars has begun to bridge this gap: see for example Schock, Unarmed Insurrections: People Power Movements in Nondemocracies (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements) , Chapter Two ‘Political Process and Nonviolent Action Approaches to Political Contention’.

Whilst some of the social movement literature does encompass national resistance to political oppression (people power), much of it focuses on protest for more specific causes. The primary criterion for inclusion in this section is a focus on the role of nonviolent tactics, but the books here range from ‘insider’ accounts of social movements, collections of documents on such movements, comparative studies of movements and a few key contributions to the academic theory of social movements that do take account of nonviolent campaigns. It includes a few references on the impact of globalisation and the increasing role of transnational activist networks and movements. Specific studies of the US Civil Rights Movement are excluded because they are covered in section A.3. Literature on specific movements is listed in section G of the first edition of this bibliography and will be included in Volume 2 of the revised version when published.

Burgmann, Verity, Power and Protest: Movements for Change in Australian Society, St Leonards NSW, Allen and Unwin, 1993, pp. 302

See also Burgmann, Verity , Power, Profit and Protest: Australian Social Movements and Globalization Crows Nest NSW, Allen and Unwin, , 2003, pp. 393 .

Cohen, Robin ; Rai, Shirin M., Global Social Movements, London, Athlone Press, 2000, pp. 231

Essays examining aspects of indigenous peoples’, women’s, labour, religious and Islamic movements, as well as human rights, environmental and peace movements.

Della Porta, Donatella ; Tarrow, Sidney, Transnational Protest and Global Activism, Lanham MD, Rowman and Littlefield, 2005, pp. 287

Collection of essays exploring globalization and its varying impact on social movements, comparing today’s movements with earlier movements and examining specific examples.

Epstein, Barbara, Political Protest and Cultural Revolution: Nonviolent Direct Action in the 1970s and 1980s, Berkeley CA, University of California Press, 1991, pp. 327

Covers environmental/peace/feminist protest in the USA, analysing key ideas and organising methods, as well as evolution of some major campaigns, for example against the Seabrook nuclear energy plant and the Livermore nuclear weapons laboratory.

Escobar, Arturo ; Alvarez, Sonia E., The Making of Social Movements in Latin America, Boulder CO, Westview Press, 1992, pp. 383

Essays on conceptualizing and understanding social movements in Latin American context, as well as on indigenous, peasant and urban protests, and feminist and ecology movements. See also: Oxhorn, P. , From human rights to citizenship rights: Recent trends in the study of Latin American social movements Latin American Research Review, 2001, pp. 163-182 .

Goodwin, Jeff ; Jasper, James M., Contention in Context: Political Opportunities and the Emergence of Protest, Stanford CA, Stanford University Press, 2012, pp. 341

Designed as a series of ‘empirical tests’ to identify the role of political opportunities in the rise of protest movements.

Goodwin, Jeff ; Jasper, James M. ; Polletta, Francesca, Passionate Politics: Emotions and Social Movements, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2001, pp. 370

Hall, Mitchell, Opposition to war: An Encyclopedia Of U.S. Peace And Antiwar Movements, Two volumes, Santa Barbara, CA, ABC-CLIO, 2018, pp. 846

Investigates this historical tradition of resistance to involvement in armed conflict. In particular, it discusses peacemaking efforts in the United States. It also examines the entirety of American history, from the colonial era to modern times and reveals the multiple religious and secular motivations of peace seekers in the US. Finally, it examines how war and those who oppose war have been portrayed in popular media over the centuries.

Hauck, Robert J-P., Symposium on Nonviolence – A Force More Powerful, PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 33, issue 2 (June), 2000

Peter Ackerman and Jack Duvall, ‘Nonviolent Power in the Twentieth Century’; Doug McAdam and Sidney Tarrow, ‘Nonviolence as Contentious Politics’; Ted Robert Gurr, ‘Nonviolence in Ethnopolitics: Strategies for the Attainment of Group Rights and Autonomy’; Gay W. Seidman, ‘Blurred Lines: Nonviolence in South Africa’; Allison Calhoun-Brown, ‘Upon This Rock: The Black Church, Nonviolence, and the Civil Rights Movement’; Anne N. Costain, ‘Women’s Movements and Nonviolence’; Stephen Zunes, ‘Nonviolent Action and Human Rights’.

Jasper, James M., The Art of Moral Protest: Culture, Biography, and Creativity in Social Movements, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1997, pp. 514

Takes up the challenge that ‘most academic theories of social movements are not prepared to explain the full range of protest goals and activities, especially those of privileged rather than oppressed citizens’, specifically drawing on the US environmental, anti-nuclear energy, and animals rights movements.

Johnston, Hank, States & Social Movements, Cambridge, Polity, 2011, pp. 230

Johnston edited the journal Mobilization 1996-2007. Chapters on protest both in contemporary democracies and repressive states, on revolutions, and on globalization.

Kolb, Felix, Protest and Opportunities: The Political Outcomes of Social Movements, Frankfurt Main, Campus Verlag, 2007, pp. 360

Derives propositions about social movements and political change from detailed analyses of the US Civil Rights Movement compared with movements against nuclear power.

Lynd, StaughtonLynd, Alice, Nonviolence in America: A Documentary History, [1966], Maryknoll NY, Orbis Books, 1995, pp. 530

The 1966 anthology included writings by opponents of slavery, anarchists and ‘progressives’ in the 19th century, and trade unionists, conscientious objectors and peace campaigners in the 20th century, up to the Civil Rights Movement and anti-Vietnam War protests. The revised edition covers radical Catholic resistance, nonviolent trade unionism, resistance to US imperialism in Central America in the 1980s and assistance to Central American refugees, opposition to the 1991 Gulf War and environmental protests.

McAdam, Doug ; Tarrow, Sidney ; Tilly, Charles, The Dynamics of Contentious Politics, Cambridge and New York, Cambridge University Press, 2001, pp. 407

Book by three important authors in the field of social movements who also have some interest in nonviolent action – they address the role of nonviolent action more directly in their contribution to the ‘Symposium on Nonviolence’ (see below).

McAllister, Pam, Reweaving the Web of Life: Feminism and Nonviolence, Philadelphia PA, New Society Publishers, 1982, pp. 440

Examines feminism, pacifism and nonviolence and anti-nuclear protests in the USA.

Piven, Frances Fox ; Cloward, Richard A., Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail, [1977], New York, Vintage Books, 1979, pp. 408

Compares the efficacy of defiance and disruption with constitutional methods in four US movements.

Ram, Senthil ; Summy, Ralph V., Nonviolence: an Alternative for Defeating Global Terror(ism), New York, Nova Science Publishers, 2007, pp. 296

Routledge, Paul, Terrains of Resistance: Nonviolent Social Movements and the Contestation of Place in India, Westport CT, Praeger, 1993, pp. 196

Introduces radical geography perspective on spatial components to sites of resistance. Chapter 1 looks at the developing resistance to aspects of economic development (industrialization, dams, deforestation) and the numerous movements since independence among tribal peoples, peasants, women and squatters. Chapters 3 and 4 analyse the Baliapal movement against a missile testing range, and the Chipko movement against logging.

Rucht, Dieter, The Strategies and Action Repertoires of New Movements, In Dalton, Russel J.; Kuechler, Manfred , Challenging the Political Order: New Social and Political Movements in Western Democracies Oxford, Oxford University Press, , 1990, pp. 156-175

Solnit, Rebecca, Hope in the Dark; The Untold History of People Power, London, Canongate Books, 2005, pp. 181

Brief personal reflections on activism and the potential for change, touching on Zapatistas, the social justice movement, indigenous peoples’ actions and the transnational opposition to war in Iraq. No index.

Tarrow, Sidney, Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics, [1993], 2nd edn, Cambridge and New York, Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp. 271

Tarrow, Sidney, The New Transnational Activism, Cambridge and New York, Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 258

A survey by one of the major theorists of social movements, that includes some reference to the role of civil resistance.

Tilly, Charles, From Mobilization to Resistance, Reading MA, Addison Wesley, 1978

A classic of the social movement literature and the developing concepts of ‘repertoire’ and ‘contentious politics’.

Tracy, James, Direct Action: Radical Pacifism from the Union Eight to the Chicago Seven, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996, pp. 196

Examines how a small group of radical pacifists (such as Dave Dellinger, A.J. Muste and Bayard Rustin) played a major role in the rebirth of US radicalism and social protest in the 1950s and 1960s, applying nonviolence to social issues and developing an experimental protest style.