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Theory and Practice of Nonviolent Action

Gewaltfreie Aktion: Erfahrungen und Analysen

Author(s): Reiner Steinweg, Ulrike Laubenthal

Brandes & Aspel, Frankfurt am Main, 2011

Noting that nonviolent actions, like the resistance to 'Stuttgart 21', seem to become the focus of public attention, the authors (who have participated in many such protests in recent years) analyze the theory, practice, history, and current situation of nonviolent resistance in its international context. 

''Was heisst "gewalfreie Aktion". Ein Beitrag zur begrifflichen und konzeptionellen Klaerung

Author: Christine Schweitzer

In: Sicherheit und Frieden, Vol 31, No 3, 2013, pp. 140-144

Nonviolent action is a form of political action based on the decision, either principled or pragmatic, not to physically harm or destroy human life.  In many social movements it has proved an effective tool for political change, which can be explained by Gene sharp's theory that all power rests ultimately with those who can withdraw their consent.  Nonviolent action applies in several fields: local and regional struggles; in popular (people power) uprisings; in the theory of civilian-based  defence; in approaches of nonviolent intervention  in conflicts; and in what has been called unarmed civilian peacekeeping.

Protest! Wie man die Maechtigen das Fuerchten lehrt

Author(s): Srdja Popovic, Matthew Miller

Fischer, Frankfurt am Main, 2015

Popovic and his student friends formed Otpor, that developed into the movement that forced the dictatorial President  Milosevic in Serbia to accept defeat in the 2000 election.  Since then Popovic has advised civil and democratic movements around the world . In this book he provides suggestions and strategies for organizing nonviolent protests, for example how to gain favourable media coverage and find the right allies.

Sich verteidigen ohne anzugreifen - Der Macht der Gewaltfreiheit, Sicherheit under Frieden

Author: Pat Patfoort

Wekstatt fuer gewaltfreie Aktion, Baden, 2008

Many people dream about a world without hate violence and war, but they doubt such a world is possible.  So finally, they cease to dream about it.  Patfoort ch allenges such resignation with a book of hope, but also describes the system within which people are inhibited.  Finally, he offers a  model of equality in rank and nonviolence, where self-assertion without attacking others seems possible.

Macht von unten durch gewaltfreie Aktion: Neue Beitraege zur direkten Aktion in der Demokratie

Author: Theodor Ebert

In: Lebenshaus Schwaebischer Alb, 2017

'Power from below through nonviolent action' is the latest contribution from German's best known proponent of civilian defence and nonviolent resistance.  Aware that he is 80 years old, Ebert sums up his experiences and elaborates on new ideas for future research

Available online at:

Gewaltfrei Widerstandsbewegungen und ihre Erfolgsbedingungen - Eine Uebersich der neueren englischsprachigen Forschungsliteratur

Author(s): Sandra Destradi, Johannes Vuellers

In: Zeitschrift fuer Friedens und Konfliktforschung, Vol 4, No 1, 2015, pp. 116-146

This article is a literature review examining the latest English literature on nonviolent resistance.  It discusses different types of  protest and delineates the characteristics of nonviolent resistance movements, and then focuses on explanations for the success of such movements.  Last but not least, the authors discuss possible new avenues for research.

Gewaltfrei Widerstand und urbaner Raum

Author(s): Markus Bayer, Janet Kusawe

In: Wissenschaft und Frieden, 2016-2: Stadt im Konflikt - Urbane Gewalttraeume, 2016, pp. 29-31

Nonviolent resistance is a mass phenomenon that can challenge corrupt and autocratic regimes.  This form of resistance and  its symbiotic relationship to cities is not at all new: the plebeians in the Roman Republic used this kind of struggle when they abandoned the city until their demands were met.  But how do modern cities as conflict spaces favour  nonviolent resistance?  The authors systematically analyse the relationship between the urban sphere and nonviolent resistance.

"Unsere Waffe ist die Beharrilichkeit": Auftreten, Konzept und Aktivaeten der gewaltfreien Paschtunischen Armee der Khadi Khidmatgar (1929-1948)

Author: Sruti Bala

In: Steinweg, R. ; Laubenthal, U. , Gewaltfrei Aktion - Erfahrungen und Analysen Frankfurt am Main, Brandes & Aspel, , 2011, pp. 119-125

Sruti Bala comes from the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India.  In her dissertation on nonviolent protest she discusses some significant elements of nonviolent resistance such  as 'action', 'play' and display'.  She also tries to define certain consequences of nonviolent protest for political identity.  Finally, these conclusions are related to the ideas of Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (the 'Frontier Gandhi').

Guetekraft: Grundlage der Arbeit fuer Freiheit, Gerechtigkeit und Menschlikeit'

Author: Martin Arnold

In: Sicherheit und Frieden, Vol 31, No 3, 2013, pp. 150-156

Presents an 'ideal type' of nonviolence (the power of good) which synthesizes the approaches developed by the Catholic Hildegard Goss-Mayr, the Hindu Gandhi and the atheist de Ligt.  Attempts to describe the common core of the various traditions of nonviolence: the conception of how nonviolent action typically works.  Differentiates between nonviolence as a pattern of interaction, a model of behaviour and a human potential.  'The power of good' chiefly has an impact through action by committed individuals, 'contagion' and the evolution of both in mass noncooperation. 

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