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Nonviolent Resistance: A Philosophical Introduction

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We see nonviolent resistance all over today’s world, from Egypt’s Tahrir Square to New York Occupy.  Although we think of the last century as one marked by wars and violent conflict, in fact it was just as much a century of nonviolence as the achievements of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and peaceful protests like the one that removed Ferdinand Marcos from th We see nonviolent resistance all over today’s world, from Egypt’s Tahrir Square to New York Occupy.  Although we think of the last century as one marked by wars and violent conflict, in fact it was just as much a century of nonviolence as the achievements of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and peaceful protests like the one that removed Ferdinand Marcos from the Philippines clearly demonstrate. But what is nonviolence?  What makes a campaign a nonviolent one, and how does it work?  What values does it incorporate?   In this unique study, Todd May, a philosopher who has himself participated in campaigns of nonviolent resistance, offers the first extended philosophical reflection on the particular and compelling political phenomenon of nonviolence.  Drawing on both historical and contemporary examples, he examines the concept and objectives of nonviolence, and considers the different dynamics of nonviolence, from moral jiu-jitsu to nonviolent coercion.  May goes on to explore the values that infuse nonviolent activity, especially the respect for dignity and the presupposition of equality, before taking a close-up look at the role of nonviolence in today’s world.   Students of politics, peace studies, and philosophy, political activists, and those interested in the shape of current politics will find this book an invaluable source for understanding one of the most prevalent, but least reflected upon, political approaches of our world.


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We see nonviolent resistance all over today’s world, from Egypt’s Tahrir Square to New York Occupy.  Although we think of the last century as one marked by wars and violent conflict, in fact it was just as much a century of nonviolence as the achievements of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and peaceful protests like the one that removed Ferdinand Marcos from th We see nonviolent resistance all over today’s world, from Egypt’s Tahrir Square to New York Occupy.  Although we think of the last century as one marked by wars and violent conflict, in fact it was just as much a century of nonviolence as the achievements of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and peaceful protests like the one that removed Ferdinand Marcos from the Philippines clearly demonstrate. But what is nonviolence?  What makes a campaign a nonviolent one, and how does it work?  What values does it incorporate?   In this unique study, Todd May, a philosopher who has himself participated in campaigns of nonviolent resistance, offers the first extended philosophical reflection on the particular and compelling political phenomenon of nonviolence.  Drawing on both historical and contemporary examples, he examines the concept and objectives of nonviolence, and considers the different dynamics of nonviolence, from moral jiu-jitsu to nonviolent coercion.  May goes on to explore the values that infuse nonviolent activity, especially the respect for dignity and the presupposition of equality, before taking a close-up look at the role of nonviolence in today’s world.   Students of politics, peace studies, and philosophy, political activists, and those interested in the shape of current politics will find this book an invaluable source for understanding one of the most prevalent, but least reflected upon, political approaches of our world.

50 review for Nonviolent Resistance: A Philosophical Introduction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Filiz Kasap

    Politik şiddetsizlik üzerine dünya üzerindeki eylemleri, şiddet tanımlarıni ve siddetsiz ligin hangi şiddet biçimlerine karşı mücadele içinde olduğunu anlattigi ilk iki bölüm var. Daha sonraki bölümlerde ise şiddetsizlige ve hangi değerleri içeriğine ilişkin tartışmalar yer almakta. Çevirisi de benim için gayet anlaşılırdı. Şiddetsizlikle yeni tanisanlarin kafalarındaki pek çok soru tartışılıyor. Bazı soruların yanıtları tatmin etmese de referansları ile içine çekiyor. Şiddetsizligin ne olduğu v Politik şiddetsizlik üzerine dünya üzerindeki eylemleri, şiddet tanımlarıni ve siddetsiz ligin hangi şiddet biçimlerine karşı mücadele içinde olduğunu anlattigi ilk iki bölüm var. Daha sonraki bölümlerde ise şiddetsizlige ve hangi değerleri içeriğine ilişkin tartışmalar yer almakta. Çevirisi de benim için gayet anlaşılırdı. Şiddetsizlikle yeni tanisanlarin kafalarındaki pek çok soru tartışılıyor. Bazı soruların yanıtları tatmin etmese de referansları ile içine çekiyor. Şiddetsizligin ne olduğu veya şiddetsizlige neleri dışarda bıraktığını anlamak isteyenler için gayet anlaşılır ve pek çok isim/kaynak içeren bir eser.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    This is kind of well-written but the thing I was most impressed by was quote choice? It is hard to paraphrase philosophers because their job is kind of to map concepts to word combos and if you mix up those combos then well you're not really truly saying what they're saying are you? But May picks some pretty excellent quotes and good illustrative examples and on the whole even though I still have no useful opinions about "moral jiu jitsu" and such I think I can probably parrot back what Ranciere This is kind of well-written but the thing I was most impressed by was quote choice? It is hard to paraphrase philosophers because their job is kind of to map concepts to word combos and if you mix up those combos then well you're not really truly saying what they're saying are you? But May picks some pretty excellent quotes and good illustrative examples and on the whole even though I still have no useful opinions about "moral jiu jitsu" and such I think I can probably parrot back what Ranciere and Kant and Deming think which has got to count for something, right? basically: (1) nonviolence requires a definition (2) which implies a definition of violence (3) but we should limit it to "violence that nonviolent resistance should avoid" (4) because defining violence is very difficult. Then: (1) nonviolence works because it destabilizes state power (2) but not in a violent way (3) there is a difference between destabilization and the meaningful impediment to someone's ability to lead their lives. There are also great examples of nonviolence past just the salt march and the civil rights movement which is helpful because I'm ignorant and don't know any world history

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Todd May's core argument for tactical nonviolence hinges on Kant's categorical imperative; basically, act with the means to the end you seek. So, if you want to create a more just, more peaceful world, your means ought to be just and peaceful. ("Transfiguration," it's sometimes called.) Instead of killing oppressors, throw them out by mounting incredible pressure and/or stunning the institutions in power into inaction. Clearly it's not a universal principle. May claims that self-defense does not Todd May's core argument for tactical nonviolence hinges on Kant's categorical imperative; basically, act with the means to the end you seek. So, if you want to create a more just, more peaceful world, your means ought to be just and peaceful. ("Transfiguration," it's sometimes called.) Instead of killing oppressors, throw them out by mounting incredible pressure and/or stunning the institutions in power into inaction. Clearly it's not a universal principle. May claims that self-defense does not technically count as violence, which I'm skeptical of. But the book raises interesting questions and provides unique insight into what might be the most morally "pure" way to achieve major social change.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Halil Fide

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mayze

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ron

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ozge

  8. 5 out of 5

    Phill

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melis Söylemez Bektaş

  10. 5 out of 5

    İlker Türkcan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ilayda

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charles Carlson

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matt Diaz

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mason Kelso

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aybala

  16. 5 out of 5

    Birfilhortumundakisu

  17. 5 out of 5

    Burcu

  18. 4 out of 5

    E. Cansın

  19. 4 out of 5

    Recep Berkay Peker

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Wenzel

  22. 4 out of 5

    Barış Yentür

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gokcer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kubra Unlu

  25. 4 out of 5

    Felicity

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ian Packer

  28. 5 out of 5

    NVCC Manassas

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vincent

  30. 4 out of 5

    John Warner

  31. 4 out of 5

    Justylcol

  32. 4 out of 5

    S

  33. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  34. 4 out of 5

    Erdem Bulduruç

  35. 5 out of 5

    Trinh Lien Huong

  36. 4 out of 5

    Indres

  37. 5 out of 5

    Aligroof

  38. 5 out of 5

    Anil Kahvecioglu

  39. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Stricklan

  40. 5 out of 5

    Burak

  41. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  42. 4 out of 5

    د. أسامة

  43. 4 out of 5

    Frank Spencer

  44. 5 out of 5

    Eric Robinson

  45. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  46. 4 out of 5

    Laura Haselden

  47. 5 out of 5

    Todd

  48. 4 out of 5

    Sugarpunksattack Mick

  49. 4 out of 5

    eclat

  50. 5 out of 5

    Elliot Cox

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