There are fairly evenly split views on the possibility of reconciliation with former combatants, as well as varied opinions (sometimes along gender, income, education level, and/or regional lines) on which activities would foster reconciliation and how willing respondents would be to come into close contact with former combatants.
Limiting both state violence and activist violence in the context of a civil resistance struggle is important to movement success.
In Barcelona, a four-day-long riot associated with 15-M led to an overall 12-point decline in public support for the movement.
Certain gendered myths—like the “gentleman soldier” and “women as peacebuilders”—were used by the Rwandan Defense Forces to re-assert traditional gender roles.
Women find innovative ways to build peace in their daily lives, significantly supplementing formal peacebuilding initiatives.
Nearly all nonviolent resistance movements face a common challenge—the temptation to turn to violence, whether among those within the movement or on the part of the government whose policies or behaviors may be the target of the resistance movement.
In this issue, some of the articles focus on intractable conflicts, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or civil wars of the recent past, like Sierra Leone or Côte d’Ivoire. While conflict is persistent in these settings, there are examples of peacebuilding at the interpersonal and local levels. The choice between violence and nonviolence is highlighted in two other articles, though in quite different contexts. Research conducted in Iran finds that nonviolent resistance garners more support than violent resistance does even after the previous failure of a nonviolent movement. Other research reveals that the inclusion of armed groups in negotiations can move them away from the use of violence, while their exclusion makes a return to violence more likely. Additionally, national governments continue to play a powerful role in shaping outcomes for peace and security, from decisions about whether to participate in negotiations with armed groups to decisions about how much to allocate towards defense spending.
In this issue, we examine research on the successful nuclear weapon free zone treaties that helped pave the way to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and how approaching nuclear weapons prohibition through regional stepping stones may be the key to global abolition. Next, by looking at a study on levels of weapons imports, we see a direct relationship between the influx of weapons and the likelihood of a specific classification of countries engaging in civil war. In the third analysis, we learn that less than one in five nonviolent uprisings in the past 45 years has attempted mediation to resolve the conflicts they seek to address. It turns out that higher risks and costs associated with a nonviolent uprising—either the presence of radical flanks or high levels of state repression—are closely related to mediation attempts. Next, we are taken to post-war Liberia where we explore the role of trust, norms, and social networks play in the ability of former combatants to reintegrate into society. The research highlights additional perspectives on the devastating toll war plays on individuals and societies, even after the fighting ends. Our last analysis focuses on why different organizations in the same movement choose the specific nonviolent tactics they do, resulting in a consideration of resource availability, interdependence, and strategic decision-making.
Nonviolent tactics have varying resource needs, and organizations have varying capabilities and resources. Organizations are incentivized to diversify their nonviolent tactics when other organizations are active in the same movement.
Social capital—in the form of trust, norms, and networks—is central to how the reintegration of ex-combatants has played out in post-war Liberia but also is itself a key product of these reintegration processes.