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Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict

Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan

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Paper, 320 pages, 11 figures, 19 tables
ISBN: 978-0-231-15683-7
$22.00 / £15.00

August, 2011
Cloth, 320 pages, 11 figures, 19 tables
ISBN: 978-0-231-15682-0
$29.50 / £20.50

"This is the first major scholarly book to make a well-supported argument that, contrary to what many people believe, nonviolent resistance is more effective than armed resistance in overthrowing regimes, an advantage that is maintained even when the target is not democratic." — Robert Jervis, Columbia University

"Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan offer a fresh, lively, and penetrating analysis of the conditions under which nonviolent resistance succeeds or fails. Using a wealth of data and in-depth case studies, they show that the scholarly emphasis on forceful approaches is misguided: nonviolent movements are often better able to mobilize supporters, resist regime crackdowns, develop innovative resistant techniques, and otherwise take on and defeat repressive regimes and build durable democracies." — Daniel Byman, Georgetown University and senior fellow, Saban Center at the Brookings Institution

"After the breathtaking events of 2011, can anyone doubt that nonviolent civil resistance is an effective tool for political change? In this provocative, well-written, and compelling book, Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan demonstrate that nonviolent civil resistance is usually a better way to force political change. They identify the conditions favoring its success and provide a convincing explanation for why nonviolent resistance is so effective. Their analysis is rigorous yet accessible, and their conclusions have profound implications for anyone seeking to understand—or promote—far-reaching social and political reform." — Stephen Walt, Harvard University

"This is social science at its best. Years of critical study culminate in a book on one dominating issue: how does nonviolent opposition compare with violence in removing a regime or achieving secession? The authors study successes and failures and alternative diagnoses of success and failure, reaching a balanced judgment meriting careful study." — Thomas C. Schelling, Harvard University, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics

"All of us dedicated to peaceful protest as a way to change the world can take heart from this book." — Amitabh Pal, Progressive

"The work belongs in all academic libraries. . . . Highly recommended." — Choice

"Well researched, skillfully written, insightful, and timely." — Joseph G. Bock, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict

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About the Author

Erica Chenoweth is an assistant professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and an Associate Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo. Previously she taught at Wesleyan University and held fellowships at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Maria J. Stephan is a strategic planner with the U.S. Department of State. Formerly she served as director of policy and research at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and American University. She has also been a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

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