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Crowd-sourcing questions for Chenoweth

[I'm stickying this since on reflection putting the positive aspects of non-violence forward with good data is probably a better contribution than polemic. I mean, I can do 2008 all over again, I know how to do this, but do we really want or need that? Adding: To me, this is especially critical now after Chris Hedge's "own goal," which is already being used to discredit non-violence as such. But to all, ask any question you like, the more difficult the better! --lambert]

I'd like to put together some questions for Professor Chenoweth and submit them to her for an interview. See her slides here; 2008 article here; research page here. And see also the comment thread at NC here; it's instructive. Here's one:

Do you have examples of violent factions that broke off from non-violent movements and succeeded?

NOTE Jeff W kindly sent me a copy of Chenoweth's book!

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jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

novelty of nonviolent resistance, and I would really like to see that explored. Violence advocates can argue that they have history on their side, but since nonviolent resistance really has its origins in Late Modernity, you can argue it has achieved superior results in a more condensed timeframe.

On the other hand, violent resistance advocates can point legitimately to the fact that France, our great bastion of social welfare, is the product of several very violent and very bloody revolutions over the course of a century or more. But then, would a nonviolent revolution have changed things sooner?

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

What is the total history of nonviolent resistance as a strategy? Or maybe a better way to phrase it is: for how long has nonviolent resistance been a distinct strategy of opposition?

Submitted by gob on

Does she have data indicating which factors -- whether under control of the movement or not -- have the most influence -- whether positive or negative -- on the rate of participation or support among the population at large? Among the executors of state power (police, military, etc)?

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

My questions are:

How and to what extent does your research apply to the Occupy movement? What can Occupy supporters take away from your research?

[similar to gob's] Within cases of successful civil resistance, what methods of nonviolent resistance (as listed by Gene Sharp) were effective or more effective? Are some methods necessary to success?

Did the cases of successful violent resistance succeed because of or in spite of the violence? In other words, is there one (smaller) set of cases where violent resistance is more effective and another (larger) set of cases where nonviolent resistance is more effective or are the successful violent resistance cases “mistakes”—they might have been even more effective using nonviolent resistance?

Submitted by lambert on

But I'm wondering if that question isn't too easy to deflect...

Maybe ask for more precise democgraphics, like income level, class, age....

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

Does that refer to the first question (how the research applies to Occupy)? Well, maybe add “If it doesn’t apply or you can’t say, please comment further about that.” Please feel free, of course, to modify or add to my questions how ever you see fit, lambert.

If Dr Chenoweth deflects it, she deflects it. I think direct questions often yield revealing answers.

(My own take, which I’ve touched on before, is that Chenoweth is researching the effectiveness of violent resistance like armed insurgencies, guerrilla groups, revolutionary stuff versus nonviolent resistance which includes some incidental, low level of violence; she’s not really addressing whether that incidental, low level of violence sub-optimizes the nonviolence resistance movement—that question deals [partly] with your “one drop of violence” argument. Maybe it does [seems plausible], maybe it doesn’t, maybe Chenoweth will say, maybe she can’t [or won’t]—but I think her position on applying her research has more weight or may offer more insight than someone’s guess, e.g., mine, about it.)

Submitted by lambert on

You could be right. I wouldn't make it the first question out of the box.

Submitted by lambert on

as a taxonomy, how do you view them from a technical standpoint? Could you code them? Are they useful in the American context?

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

I haven't read her research yet so I don't know if it has already been done, but is the data also broken down by the existing political situation, for example democracies, totalitarian/dictatorships, colonized lands? Is the data similar or variable based on the landscape?

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Did her studies indicate some kind of critical mass of participation for successful movements? Did this vary for successful violent and non-violent movements? In other words, if you reach a certain level of participation, do tactics become irrelevant?