We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

E-book purchase
Choose a subscription

Downloaded copy on your device does not expire. Includes 4 years of Bookshelf Online.


Where applicable, tax will be added to the above price prior to payment.

E-book purchasing help


Civil Resistance

What Everyone Needs to Know®

Erica Chenoweth

Publication Date - March 2021

ISBN: 9780190244408

368 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

A sweeping review of civil resistance throughout history and in the present moment


A sweeping overview of civil resistance movements around the world that explains what they are, how they work, why they are often effective, and why they can fail.

Civil resistance is a method of conflict through which unarmed civilians use a variety of coordinated methods (strikes, protests, demonstrations, boycotts, and many other tactics) to prosecute a conflict without directly harming or threatening to harm an opponent. Sometimes called nonviolent resistance, unarmed struggle, or nonviolent action, this form of political action is now a mainstay across the globe. It was been a central form of resistance in the 1989 revolutions and in the Arab Spring, and it is now being practiced widely in Trump's America. If we are going to understand the manifold protest movements emerging around the globe, we need a thorough understanding of civil resistance and its many dynamics and manifestations.

In Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know® , Erica Chenoweth -- one of the world's leading scholars on the topic--explains what civil resistance is, how it works, why it sometimes fails, how violence and repression affect it, and the long-term impacts of such resistance. Featuring both historical cases of civil resistance and more contemporary examples such as the Arab Awakenings and various ongoing movements in the United States, this book provides a comprehensive yet pithy overview of this enormously important subject.


  • Introduces the essentials of how and why civil resistance works in a conversational and accessible style
  • Concise yet systematic overview that draws from both historical and contemporary cases, including the present-day United States
  • Demonstrates the centrally important role civil resistance has played in shaping our world

About the Author(s)

Erica Chenoweth is the Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights & International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Foreign Policy ranked Chenoweth among the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013 for "proving Gandhi right." Chenoweth also won the 2014 Karl Deutsch Award, given annually by the International Studies Association to the scholar under 40 who has made the most significant impact on the field of international politics or peace research. Chenoweth is the co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works, which won the American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Prize, the most prestigious award in the field.


"Civil Resistance is an absolutely essential book for peace activists and anybody interested in history or in creating a better world. So pretty much everyone, then" -- Ian Sinclair, Peace News. February 2022.

"Erica Chenowethâs book is the user manual we need for the long and difficult struggle ahead of us." -- Deepak Bhargava and Harry Hanbury, The Forge

"Erica Chenowethâs latest book...offers a detailed and approachable insight into civil resistance, representing the pinnacle of their work on the use of violence within civil action." -- Francisca Castro, Social Movement Studies

"Erica Chenoweth has written an excellent book on civil resistance" -- Ron Pagnucco, The Journal of Social Encounters

"Chenoweth provides a fantastic compendium of scholarship and general insights on civil resistance that should be valuable for academics and activists alike." -- Jessica Maves Braithwaite, International Relations

"This book is as much advocacy as it is an analscholarship and general insights on civil resistance that nonviolence. Civil Resistance: What Everyone should be valuable for academics and activists alike." -- Jessica Maves Braithwaite, International Relations

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: What is Civil Resistance?
    Chapter 2: How Civil Resistance Works
    Chapter 3: Civil Resistance and Violence against the Movement
    Chapter 4: Civil Resistance and Violence from within the Movement
    Chapter 5: Civil Resistance Around the World
    Chapter 6: The Long-Term Effects of Civil Resistance
    Chapter 7: Civil Resistance Today and Tomorrow
    Chapter 8: Resources