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Does Nonviolence Work?

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Chenoweth and Stephan's award-winning book, Why Civil Resistance Works, boldly claims that political protest is more successful than armed conflict. This finding is novel in its design and innovative in its defense. This essay, however, suggests that civil disobedience fails just as often as violence in toppling authoritarian regimes. Moreover, my review of several important books on political protest, autocracy, and regime change concludes that the choices made by dictators shape whether the opposition remains peaceful or becomes violent. Deepening our understanding of democratization requires integrating the analysis of the nature and impact of political protest with the study of regimes, their dynamics, and how and when they split.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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