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Nonviolent Revolutions Civil Resistance in the Late 20th Century,9780199778218

Nonviolent Revolutions Civil Resistance in the Late 20th Century

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 7/28/2011
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
Availability: This title is currently not available.


In the spring of 1989, Chinese workers and students captured global attention as they occupied Tiananmen Square, demanded political change, and then experienced a tragic crackdown at the hands of the Chinese army. Months later, East German civilians rose up nonviolently, bringing down the Berlin Wall and dismantling their regime. Although both movements used the tactics of civil resistance, their outcomes were different. InNonviolent Revolutions, Sharon Erickson Nepstad examines these two movements, along with citizen uprisings in Panama, Chile, Kenya, and the Philippines. Through a comparative approach that includes both successful and failed cases, she analyzes the effects of movements' strategies along with the counter-strategies that regimes developed to retain power. Nepstad concludes that security force defections have a significant influence on revolutionary outcomes since those regimes that maintained troop loyalty were the least likely to collapse. Through a close analysis of these cases, she explores the reasons why soldiers defect or remain loyal and the conditions that increase the likelihood of mutiny. She also examines the impact of international sanctions, arguing that they sometimes harm movements by generating new allies for authoritarian leaders or by shifting the locus of power from local civil resisters to international actors. In conclusion, Nepstad finds that the dynamics of nonviolent revolution are not adequately captured by theories that have largely been derived from studies of armed struggles. Nonviolent Revolutionsoffers insights into the distinctive challenges that civil resisters face and it explores the reasons why some of these insurrectionary movements failed. As this form of struggle has increased in recent years--with the explosion of "color revolutions" in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan and Burma--this book provides a valuable new framework for understanding civil resistance and nonviolent revolt.

Author Biography

Sharon Erickson Nepstad is Professor of Sociology at the University of New Mexico. She is the author of Convictions of the Soul (OUP 2004) and Religion and War Resistance in the Plowshares Movement, which won the 2009 Outstanding Book Award from the American Sociological Association's section on Peace, War, and Social Conflict.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Nonviolent Power and Revolutionary Change
PART I: Nonviolent Uprisings Against Socialist Regimes
Chapter 2 The Tiananmen Tragedy and the Failed Chinese Uprising
Chapter 3 The Collapse of the East German State
PART II: Nonviolent Uprisings Against Military Regimes
Chapter 4 Panama's Struggle for Democracy
Chapter 5 Ousting Chile's General Pinochet
PART III: Nonviolent Uprisings Against Personal Dictatorships
Chapter 6 Kenyan Resistance to Daniel Arap Moi
Chapter 7 The Philippines' "Bloodless Revolution"
Chapter 8 Conclusion: How Civil Resistance Works

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