International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), in partnership with Rutgers University International Institute for Peace (Rutgers IIP) will host a free, moderated online course, “People Power: The Study of Strategic Nonviolent Resistance,” which will take place from October 6 to November 17, 2016.
Civil resistance is a social and political phenomenon that defies a long-held belief in the power of arms to challenge brutal, violent adversary. Contrary to the dominant news narrative about endless civil wars and political violence, nonviolent resistance campaigns against repressive states have been on the rise in the last few decades, surpassing violent insurgencies by almost 5 to 1 in the last 15 years.
For the past several years, ICNC has supported work to develop unique datasets of nonviolent campaigns (NAVCO). In 2011, this work led to a ground-breaking quantitative study that showed that civil resistance movements often emerge and succeed in challenging environments. It also established that civil resistance struggles are more than twice as effective against violent states as armed resistance groups.
Informed by these important developments in the field and scholarly findings, this free, online course provides an interactive, in-depth and multidisciplinary perspective on civilian-based movements and campaigns that defend and obtain basic rights and justice around the world. The course explains the nature of civil resistance and its force, underlying dynamics and effectiveness.
During the course we will reflect on the skills and agency of ordinary people, their strategies and tactics, the backfire effect, and defections. We will look at how entrenched political and social structures and practices shift under the pressure of organized nonviolent movements, and the long-term impacts on societies, nations and institutions.
Finally, the course will also examine a variety of case studies of civil resistance struggles, including those whose objectives are not regime change but instead to challenge corruption or abusive and violent non-state actors.