Non-Violent Conflict: Application and Theory

Course NameNon-Violent Conflict: Application and Theory
Course CodeIRS373 / IRS673
DescriptionThis course provides a theoretical as well as practical overview of nonviolent direct action. Our goal will be to evaluate and critically assess the nature of nonviolent struggle. By nonviolence, we refer to non-institutional forms of dissent and protest. Also known as civil resistance or civil disobedience, nonviolent direct action has been historically pivotal in enabling regular people to achieve political goals. There is something extraordinary about nonviolent protest and the dynamics of nonviolence have led many to investigate the phenomenon both normatively and positively. This course will cover three types of nonviolent direct action: 1) individual usage of nonviolence; 2) group-level usage of nonviolent direct action for political purposes; 3) group-level usage of nonviolent direct for self-determination (independence/nationalist movements). Substantial emphasis will be placed on regime transition and the role of nonviolence in democratization.
Learning OutcomesUpon completion of this course, students will be able to:
– Analyze and understand the relationship between nonviolent movements, their relative success or failure, and how such movements impact history/Understand the main theories of nonviolence, specifically Gene Sharp’s (1973) work;
– Understand the tactical considerations that nonviolent movements undergo;
– Identify trends in how authoritarian governments respond to nonviolent dissent;
– Understand the strategies nonviolent movements implement in order to overcome state repression;
– Understand the interaction of state repression with nonviolent dissent;
– Identify multiple roles that media organizations play during nonviolent uprisings;
– Relate the emergence of new information technologies (social media) to activities of nonviolent movements;
– Understand the role of external actors, namely NGOs, in nonviolent conflict;
– Produce several pieces of writing via in-class short responses that reflect understanding of popular theories and concepts of nonviolence;
– Carry out an in-depth presentation on a historical or contemporary instance of nonviolent direct action;
– Produce a research paper of academic quality (research and writing skills).
SchoolSchool of International Relations and Diplomacy (IRD)
LevelBachelor / Master
Number of credits (US / ECTS)3 US / 6 ECTS