Outlining the strategic nature of nonviolent action, and cataloguing an array of historical resistance to the state, Gene Sharps book has inspired social movements from the 1980s anticommunist uprisings through the 2010s Arab Spring and beyond. This paper situates The Politics of Nonviolent Action within the context of social movement theorization and shows that the empirical literature vindicates Sharps position that nonviolence is more effective than its violent counterpart in engendering societal change.
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Mikayla Novak is a senior fellow in the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Mercatus Center at George Mason University.