Guns and Roses: A Study of Violent and Nonviolent Resistance Movements
My research is driven by two questions: Why do some dissident groups choose nonviolence over violence while others prefer violence over nonviolence? Why do political movements, even those using the same tactics, unfold and evolve divergently? To answer the first question, I argue that nonviolent dissidents are dependent on human resources and violent dissidents are dependent on physical resources. Further, either strategy could be more costly, depending on the strategic environment in which the resistance movement takes place. For the second question, I contend that the opposition which poses a level of threat greater than the cost of policy change gains concession in a prolonged movement. Oppositions that are unable to sustain their activities do not constitute a credible threat and therefore are defeated rather swiftly. Finally, every process requires time and therefore a movement's duration should explain the outcome of significant progress. By analyzing 250 political movements of various types around the world, I provide empirical evidence to support my theory. To complement the large-N empirical analysis, an in-depth analysis of two movements (one violent and one nonviolent) in India is provided.
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