WEEK 9: NONVIOLENT PERSPECTIVES ON POWER AND SYSTEMATIC CHANGE
1. NONVIOLENT POWER
A. Strategic Dependence on violence: Is it a soluble problem?
*Propositions from the nonviolence paradigm
• We are conditioned to associate power with violence
• When normal means fail and the objective is a vital one, we feel pressure to endorse
the use of violence
• A common result: we end up in a common cycle of violence
• Challenge: can we confront stubborn or opportunistic adversaries without resorting to
• “Violence is a form of resourcelessness; in other words, we use violence when we lack
the creativity to come up with a nonviolent solution” (Ursula Franklin)
• “If we equate power without ability to hurt, there is no place for peace in this
universe.” – Kenneth Bolding
B. Asymmetric Conflict and Cyclical Violence
• Sunday, January 30, 1972, in Derry, Northern Ireland, it was a Bloody Sunday.
-Group of protestors who were objecting to the internment without trial, and the British
army opened fire and 13 people were killed. This is an issue with unequal conflict.
C. Consent Theory of Power
• Government is ultimately based on consent/obedience
• By withdrawing consent, people can reclaim their power (i.e.: people power)
2. NONVIOLENCE THEORY
A. Reasons to study Nonviolence
• It’s cool. It’s interesting. It’s important. It’s empowering. It’s more human.
• Latin: violare; to violate
• Our PACS typology: Direct, structural, cultural
• Direct Violence can take many different forms
C. Meaning of none violence
• Achieving without harm; things that are normally thought to be attainable only through
violence (Curle, in Vellacott, p.104)
• Active refusal to use or submit to violence in the pursuit of social change; involves
2.1. Approaches to Nonviolence • Nonviolence: A multi-dimensional concept
- 1. Strategy for social change
- 2. Method for resolving conflict
- 3. Method of Liberation
- 4. Method of defense
- 5. Way of life
• Pragmatic approach - #1-4 accentuated
-Nonviolence should be about practical things that we think through our heads, and
implement with our hands and our feet.