Mon November 26, 2012
Study of Nonviolent Resistance Receives Grawemeyer Prize
A study of the effectiveness of non-violent civil resistance is being honored with the University of Louisville’s 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.
University of Denver Professor Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, a U.S. State Department foreign affairs officer, went back more than 100 years for data on all known uprisings involving more than 1,000 people that related to a country’s secession, overthrow of a dictatorship or removal of a foreign occupation.
Chenoweth says they found that the nonviolent campaigns succeeded twice as often as the violent ones.
"What I’m hoping to do is bring civil resistance into the mainstream of understanding how people can cast off intolerable circumstances without actually having to use violent force to do it," she said.
"And to the extent that this research helps make that argument, that makes me happy."
Chenoweth says she and Stephan also discovered that the governments of countries where the peaceful resistance took place were much more likely to remain stable democracies afterward.
The findings are in their book: Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. The U of L Grawemeyer Award also carries a $100,000 cash prize.