67 Pages Posted: 15 May 2017
Date Written: May 12, 2017
The literature on civil resistance finds that nonviolent campaigns are more likely to succeed than violent insurgencies. A parallel literature on democratization poses mass mobilization as exogenous to political liberalization. Contributing to both literatures, we use a mixed methods research design to examine the impact of unarmed collective violence on democratization. An event history analysis finds that riots are positively associated with political liberalization in 103 nondemocracies from 1990 to 2004. Attacks on police stations during the 25th January Egyptian Revolution illustrate one way in which unarmed collective violence can bring about a democratic breakthrough. A qualitative examination of all 80 democratic transitions held between 1980 and 2010 also reveals the salience of unarmed collective violence. These findings contribute to research on the dynamics of contentious democratization, and suggest that remaining unarmed may be more consequential for a democracy campaign than adhering to nonviolence.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Kadivar, Mohammad Ali and Ketchley, Neil, Sticks, Stones and Molotov Cocktails: Unarmed Collective Violence and Democratization (May 12, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2967583