Precluding Nonviolence, Propelling Violence: The Effect of Internal Fragmentation on Movement Protest

Wendy Pearlman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Scholars often overlook that an adequate explanation of why a movement uses violent means of protest requires an account of why it does not instead use nonviolent means. This essay argues that while paths to violence are multiple, there is one prevailing path to nonviolent protest-that which opens when a movement is politically cohesive. Cohesion approximates a necessary condition for nonviolent protest because such protest requires coordination and collective restraint. Conversely, fragmentation generates incentives and opportunities that increase the likelihood that protest will become violent. This argument, specified in terms of composite mechanisms and demonstrated by overtime variation in the Palestinian case, critiques the assumption that movements can be treated as unitary actors. It also shifts attention from movements' motivations to their organizational configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-46
Number of pages24
JournalStudies in Comparative International Development
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

Keywords

  • Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Middle East
  • Nonviolence
  • Palestinians
  • Social movements
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Precluding Nonviolence, Propelling Violence: The Effect of Internal Fragmentation on Movement Protest'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this