What methods underly successful nonviolent action? What types of response is nonviolent action likely to provoke from powerholders, and what methods exist to blunt these attacks? How can solidarity among social movements be facilitated? Perhaps most fundamentally, what does nonviolence say about what it means to have and exert power?
Gene Sharp's third volume in the landmark nonviolence theory study, "Politics of Nonviolent Action," explores these fundamental questions to nonviolence theory, sociology and political science. Most notably, Sharp explores his idea of nonviolent action as "political jiu-jitsu," writing that "the nonviolent actionists cause the violence of the opponent's repression to be exposed in the worst possible light. This in turn may lead to shifts in opinion and then to shifts in power relationships favorable to the nonviolent group." (657)
Sharp finishes this volume exploring the different types of outcomes possible after nonviolent action -- what "victory" might look like. Drawing on previous conceptions of power as socially enacted (see Arendt and Foucault) Sharp lends credence to nonviolence as an effective method for building long-term democratic power and social change.
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