Pacifism and Nonviolence

Even though violence is widely assumed to be effective as a "regrettable but sometimes necessary" means to achieve political objectives, there is mounting evidence that calls this assumption into question.

Having a stronger army no longer guarantees military success. Whether in managing protests, in counter-terrorism, or in peacebuilding, violent and repressive approaches tend to be counter-productive and less effective than well-designed nonviolent alternatives. Similar evidence is emerging concerning bottom-up protest and resistance: violent campaigns appear less effective than nonviolent ones, including against brutal and undemocratic regimes.

Yet the serious arguments put forward by advocates of pacifism and nonviolence remain underexamined. But this is starting to change. A growing literature is giving serious attention to pacifism and nonviolence, and 2023 will see the launch of a new journal dedicated to the topic. A new mailing list has also recently been launched to coordinate research initiatives covering the remit of the journal.

This IAS Spotlight Series will explore some of the salient questions in this emerging literature with a series of hybrid seminars.

 

Thursday 28th April 2022 - 3:00pm

Seminar I: Memories of Violence

This seminar will bring together a group of scholars to reflect on the way violence is remembered and commemorated from the World Wars to the climate crisis.

Featuring the following talks:

  • Dr Mathias Thaler, University of Edinburgh (UK) - Commemorating Loss in the Age of Slow Violence
  • Dr Peter Yeandle, Loughborough University (UK) - “Honour the Dead, Serve the Living”: Poppy Politics in Britain in the 1920s and ‘30s
  • Dr Victoria Basham, Cardiff University (UK) - SingaLongaWarYears! Nostalgia for the Second World War and Contemporary British Militarism
  • Dr Alexandre Christoyannopoulos, Loughborough University (UK) - Contesting the Red Poppy Today: A Pacifist Critique of Dominant Remembrance Commemorations

 

Friday 29th April 2022 - 11:00am

Seminar II: The Cult of Violence in Politics

This seminar will bring together a group of scholars to consider a variety of critiques of common rationalisations for violence and pacifist responses to it.  

Featuring the following talks:

  • Prof Richard Jackson, Otago University (New Zealand) - Pacifism and the Cult of Violence in Counterterrorism
  • Prof Kimberly Hutchings, Queen Mary University of London (UK) - What is Peace Time
  • Dr Helen Dexter, University of Leicester (UK) - Deferred Pacifism
  • Prof Paul Rogers, University of Bradford (UK) - Systemic Ill-preparedness: The Cult of Violence in the Face of Climate Breakdown and Pandemics

 

Monday 20th June 2022 - 11:00am

Seminar III: Responding to Violence

This seminar will bring together a group of scholars to examine more closely a range of concrete examples of responses to violence, including in civilian protection initiatives, with military defectors, and in responses to ‘killer robots’ and to counterinsurgency. 

Featuring the following talks:

  • Dr Molly Wallace, Portland University (USA) - From defectors, 'formers', and military dissenters to 'credible messengers': The role of lived experience in anti-violence/anti-war activism
  • Prof Rachel Julian, Leeds Beckett University (UK) - Community-led protection from violence in Mindanao: how civilians are using nonviolence to be more secure
  • Dr Naomi Head, University of Glasgow (UK) - Responding to counterinsurgency: Female Engagement and ‘Hearts and Minds’ in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Dr Jeremy Moses, University of Canterbury (New Zealand) - Reflections on Pacifism and Non-violence amidst the ‘Killer Robots’ debate

To book onto this event, please click here

 

Monday 20th June 2022 - 3:00pm

Seminar IV: Militarism

This seminar will bring together a group of scholars to discuss various facets of militarism, including faith in the institutions of violence, how political philosophers overlook militarism, wargaming in the US military, and militarisation in Palestine.

Featuring the following talks:

  • Dr Ned Dobos, UNSW Canberra (Australia) - Militarism and Faith in the Institutions of Violence
  • Prof Cheyney Ryan, University of Oxford (UK) - How Political Philosophers Ignore Militarism
  • Dr Aggie Hirst, King's College London (UK) - The Politics of Play: Wargaming with the US military
  • Dr Marwan Darweish, Coventry University (UK) - Growing Militarisation in Palestine

To book onto this event, please click here

 

Thursday 15 September 2022 - 1:00pm

Seminar V: Nonviolent Protest and Resistance (Part 1)

This double seminar will bring together a group of scholars to analyse different dimensions and examples of nonviolent protest and resistance, including, in the first seminar: civil resistance in Thailand, the constructive resistance of the #MeToo movement, the challenges faced by today’s social movements, and the idea of rebellion; and in the second seminar: nonviolence and cooperative power, the constructive resistance of nonviolent struggles, and Gandhian nonviolence.

Featuring the following talks:

  • Dr Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) - Civil Resistance in the Face of New Autocracy: Lessons from Thailand and beyond
  • Prof Mona Lilja, University of Gothenburg (Sweden) - The constructive resistance of the #MeToo movement
  • Dr Michael Loadenthal, University of Cincinnati (USA) - From Terrorization to riotization: Challenges for today's social movements
  • Dr Chris Rossdale, University of Bristol (UK) - The Limits of Rebellion

To book onto this event, please click here

 

Thursday 15 September 2022 - 4:00pm

Seminar VI: Nonviolent Protest and Resistance (Part 2)

This double seminar will bring together a group of scholars to analyse different dimensions and examples of nonviolent protest and resistance, including, in the first seminar: civil resistance in Thailand, the constructive resistance of the #MeToo movement, the challenges faced by today’s social movements, and the idea of rebellion; and in the second seminar: nonviolence and cooperative power, the constructive resistance of nonviolent struggles, and Gandhian nonviolence.

Featuring the following talks:

  • Dr Iain Atack, University of Dublin (Ireland) - Nonviolence and Cooperative Power 
  • Prof Stellan Vinthagen, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (USA) - Constructive Resistance: Combining the YES and NO in Nonviolent Struggles
  • Prof Ramin Jahanbegloo, O.P. Jindal Global University (India) - Gandhian Nonviolence: Reconciling Ethics and Politics
  • Dr Javier Argomaniz, University of St Andrews - Civil resistance to non-state violence: the case of Basque Country

To book onto this event, please click here