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The failure of strategic nonviolent action in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Syria: ‘political ju-jitsu’ in reverse

Davies, T. R. (2014). The failure of strategic nonviolent action in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Syria: ‘political ju-jitsu’ in reverse. Global Change, Peace and Security, 26(3), pp. 299-313. doi: 10.1080/14781158.2014.924916


This article seeks to advance understanding of strategic nonviolent action through providing a more comprehensive assessment of the factors that may contribute towards the failure of nonviolent campaigns than has been undertaken to date. It disaggregates the wide range of international and national circumstances relevant to the failure of nonviolent action, illustrated with reference to experience of nonviolent action in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Syria since 2011. Through exploring these cases, the article proceeds to reveal how adherence to the assumed principles of nonviolent strategy may be insufficient in contributing towards success. It concludes by outlining four pathways by which nonviolent strategy may contribute towards its own failure, including its supersession by armed conflict.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Global Change, Peace & Security on 26 Jun 2014, available online:
Publisher Keywords: strategic nonviolent action; ‘Arab spring’; civil resistance; nonviolence
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
The City Law School > International Law and Affairs Group
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