Non-Violent Action

31 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2018 Last revised: 21 Oct 2018

See all articles by Joshua Ammons

Joshua Ammons

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 29, 2018

Abstract

Non-violent action entails exerting power to bring about change through means which avoid the use of physical force. Examples include protests, boycotts, civil disobedience, and non-cooperation, among others. Although it is possible for a single individual to engage in non-violence, larger-scale efforts, which involve numerous people working together to achieve some shared goal, are associated with broader societal change. Historically, these goals have included: undermining authoritarian governments, contesting injustices, preserving human rights, freedoms, and civil liberties, preventing coups d’états, defending against external threats, and expelling foreign invaders, among others. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the key thinkers, practitioners, and writings on non-violent action. Our purpose is twofold. First, we aim to introduce readers to the key figures in the long tradition of non-violent action. Second, we seek to emphasize non-violent action as an important means for responding to crises. This approach is bottom-up in that it requires people figuring out ways to work together collectively to generate change to the status quo without a single, overarching entity directing the effort.

Keywords: Non-violent action, Gene Sharp, protests, boycotts, civil disobedience, non-cooperation

JEL Classification: D70, H12, H80, F50

Suggested Citation

Ammons, Joshua and Coyne, Christopher J., Non-Violent Action (August 29, 2018). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 18-28. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3240630 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3240630

Joshua Ammons

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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