What is Nonviolence

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Conflict Resolution

Culture of Peace







What is Nonviolence




We are constantly being astonished at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt-of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.                                                                               Mohandas K. Gandhi



In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.                                           Martin Luther King, Jr.                                                   




The concept of violence generally refers to the destructive use of physical force against property or people. In the concept of society, it also includes systems of oppression and domination. Structural violence located in an organization in society may lead to physical violence. Nonviolent action is a strategy of change which incorporates several techniques such as nonresistance, active reconciliation, passive resistance, noncooperation.  Conflicts are resolved by doing or refusing to do certain things, without the use of physical force. While there are different types of nonviolence, there are four  major approaches to nonviolence. as identified by Robert J. Borrowes in the Strategy of Nonviolent Defense. These approaches are descriptive and not definitive and the strategies may be combined if needed.

  • Principled nonviolence.  The opponent is viewed as a partner in the struggle to satisfy the needs of all. Nonviolence is a way of life and there is a unity of means and end.
  • Pragmatic nonviolence. The opponent is an antagonist with incompatible interests. The opponent has to be defeated, and suffering (except  physical suffering) may be inflicted on the opponent.
  • Reformist nonviolence. Practitioners identify certain policies as the cause of social problems. They use campaigns to change these policies within the social framework
  • Revolutionary nonviolence.  Practioners conduct a structural analysis of political and economic relationships. They identify the shortcomings and conduct campaigns for revolutionary structural change.

Learn More About Nonviolence

Understanding Nonviolence.                                                       Article by Mark Shepard

Non-Violence: What Do We Mean?

Correcting Common Misconceptions About Nonviolent Action. Article published by the Albert Einstein Institution

Methods of Nonviolent Action.                                                    Excerpt from Gene Sharp, The Methods of Nonviolent Action

Historical Examples of Nonviolent Struggle .                        Published by the Albert Einstein Institution

Nonviolence in the 21st Century: Challenges and Choices.   Article by Arun Gandhi

Peace Magazine

Annotated Bibliography of Nonviolent Action Training








       B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library          C.W. Post Campus, Long Island University

                                                                                            Links accessed on July 10, 2010