Between Mao and Gandhi: Strategies of Violence and Nonviolence in Revolutionary Movements.
Abstract: From Eastern Europe to South Africa to the Arab Spring, nonviolent
action has proven ca- pable of overthrowing autocratic regimes and bringing about
revolutionary political change. In fact, recent research suggests that nonviolent movements
are more than twice as effective in achieving their goals than violent ones. So why do some
political movements neverthe- less believe it necessary ... read moreto take up arms? Can they be
convinced otherwise? This dissertation examines why political movements that seek to
overthrow the state come to embrace a strategy of either armed insurgency or civil
resistance. I argue that char- acteristics of a movement's base of popular support--its
size, organization, and networked structure--influence the movement's perceptions of the
relative effectiveness of violent ver- sus nonviolent tactics and consequently shape its
strategic behavior. To test the theory, I employ a mixed-method research design.
Statistical analysis of a cross-national dataset of revolutionary movements allows me to
test competing theories and locate new empirical puzzles. Based on these quantitative
findings, I select four cases of revolutionary campaigns from Nepal for a more fine-grained
qualitative study. Drawing on six months of fieldwork in Nepal and India, including
archival research as well as over 60 interviews with ex-combatants, movement leaders, and
local experts, I use cross-case comparisons and within-case process-tracing tests to
further elucidate the theoretical mech- anisms, check for measurement error, and search for
alternative explanations not previously considered.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2015.
Submitted to the Dept. of Diplomacy, History, and Politics.
Advisor: Richard Shultz.
Committee: Zeynep Bulutgil, and Erica Chenoweth.
Keyword: International relations.read less