Paper $29.95 ISBN: 9781780325156 Published November 2015 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781780320540 Published November 2015 For sale in North and South America only

A Theory of Nonviolent Action

How Civil Resistance Works

Stellan Vinthagen

A Theory of Nonviolent Action

Stellan Vinthagen

Distributed for Zed Books

224 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2015
Paper $29.95 ISBN: 9781780325156 Published November 2015 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781780320540 Published November 2015 For sale in North and South America only
In this ground-breaking and much-needed book, Stellan Vinthagen provides the first major systematic attempt to develop a theory of nonviolent action since Gene Sharp's seminal The Politics of Nonviolent Action in 1973.
Employing a rich collection of historical and contemporary social movements from various parts of the world as examples—from the civil rights movement in America to anti-Apartheid protestors in South Africa to Gandhi and his followers in India—and addressing core theoretical issues concerning nonviolent action in an innovative, penetrating way, Vinthagen argues for a repertoire of nonviolence that combines resistance and construction. Contrary to earlier research, this repertoire—consisting of dialogue facilitation, normative regulation, power breaking and utopian enactment—is shown to be both multidimensional and contradictory, creating difficult contradictions within nonviolence, while simultaneously providing its creative and transformative force.

An important contribution to the field, A Theory of Nonviolent Action is essential for anyone involved with nonviolent action who wants to think about what they are doing.
Chapter 1: 'Nonviolent Action'
Chapter 2: Nonviolent Action Studies - Morality vs. Strategy
Chapter 3: The History of Nonviolent Action - A Geneaology of a Concept and its Practice
Chapter 4: Defining Nonviolent Action

Chapter 5: The Social Rationality of Nonviolent Action
Chapter 6: Communicative Rationality of Nonviolent Action - Nonviolent Dialogue Facilitation
Chapter 7: Goal Rationality of Nonviolent Action - Nonviolent Power Breaking
Chapter 8: Expressive Rationality of Nonviolent Action - Nonviolent Utopian Enactment
Chapter 9: Normative Rationality of Nonviolent Action - Nonviolent Normative Regulation
Chapter 10: The Creative and Dialectic Force of Nonviolent Action

Review Quotes
Satyagraha Foundation for Nonviolence Studies
“The richness of the detail may make it something of a Bible of nonviolent action. . . . In this sense the book stands in Gandhi’s tradition of experimentation while demonstrating how the core elements of his thought and practice open new vistas for the future of nonviolence.”
Stefan Jonsson, Linköping University
"Combines the sociologist’s rigor and the historian’s overview with the activist’s practical experience, resulting in a convincing synthesis—the first of its kind, and a fundamental book in its field."
Brian Martin, University of Wollongong
"A pioneering contribution to the field. Using revealing examples of actions and campaigns, Vinthagen’s sophisticated and illuminating theoretical picture is tightly linked to practice. Activists and scholars alike have much to gain from this tour de force."
Roland Bleiker, University of Queensland
"Building on traditions that see nonviolence as a strategy, a tactic or a way of life, Stellan Vintagen offers a new sociological theory of nonviolent action. Scholars and activists will gain both insight and inspiration from this book."
Sean Taudin Chabot, Eastern Washington University
"Vinthagen’s new book is like a breath of fresh air, providing an original and diverse conceptual toolbox for activist scholars eager to revolutionize research on nonviolent action."
Annika Björkdahl, Lund University
"In this valuable and important contribution to the field Vinthagen advances a sociological perspective on non-violence to analyse the social practice of nonviolent actions. The unique combination of theory and practice will attract the attention of both scholars and activists."
Anna Leander, Centre for the Resolution of International Conflicts, Copenhagen University
"This book is a profoundly relevant academic book. It is a rigorous, thoughtful and creative exploration of non-violent politics . . . unlike most academic work, it speaks to anyone interested in non-violent political action in contemporary society."
Mattias Gardell, Uppsala University
"An essential book for every researcher, activist and human rights defender interested in the sociology of resistance and the opportunities and limitations of nonviolence as a method for human emancipation."
Johan Galtung, founder, Transcend International
"This superb study of nonviolent action will become the key book in the field for this generation."
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