Civil Resistance or Rebellion: The Impact of Country-Level Factors on Revolutionary Strategy
This paper constitutes a partial answer to the question of when political
resistance campaigns that use primarily violent or nonviolent strategies occur. In doing so, it attempts to bridge the gap between discussions of rebellion and civil resistance. A number of broad theoretical propositions are made and statistically tested by combining the NAVCO data on violent and nonviolent resistance campaigns with data that is commonly used in the civil war literature. The study finds that revolutionary civil resistance campaigns are unlikely to occur in democracies, population size does not obstruct nonviolent collective action, and the present favors nonviolent resistance more than the past, likely due to technological factors. It also provides evidence that divided societies are associated with rebellion rather than civil resistance.
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