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date: 22 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Civil resistance is a form of contentious politics that eschews violent tactics and strategies in favor of nonviolent ones. Employing methods likes strikes, boycotts, and demonstrations, nonviolent activists have often defeated their adversaries, including highly repressive states. This chapter aims to introduce the reader to civil resistance as a social phenomenon and a scholarly field of study. In order to do so, the chapter commences with a discussion of what civil resistance is and what it is not. Next, I briefly survey the scholarly literature on civil resistance. Third, the chapter explores the outcomes of civil resistance campaigns. Finally I suggest a few ways in which social movements scholars can benefit from the insights generated by students of civil resistance. I conclude that social movement and revolution theorists can benefit greatly from the civil resistance literature’s heavy focus on collective actors’ strategies and tactical choices.

Keywords: civil resistance, social movement, nonviolent action, revolution, regime change, protest

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