NONVIOLENT ORGANIZATIONS IN THE MIDST OF MODERN CONFLICT: AN UNEXPECTED SOURCE OF POWER IN COLOMBIA'S CIVIL WAR
University of Kansas
Global and International Studies, Center for
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The focus of this thesis is the examination of Gene Sharp's theory of power as viewed through the practice of nonviolent direct action, which together present a clear and effective alternative to violent methods of defense. This paper exemplifies and applies these theories from Gene Sharp's "The Politics of Nonviolent Action" to one specific case study of violent conflict, Colombia's civil war, to demonstrate the practical application of nonviolent action and the validity of Sharp's Theory of Power. It also examines the effect that nonviolent action, carried out by organizations and communities from both within and outside the country, is having on traditional power positions established within Colombia's civil war between the oppressive guerrilla and paramilitary groups and the population that they threaten. It will be shown that through the use of several methods of nonviolent action, these traditional social power roles are being shifted and/ or dissolved, and that these nonviolent activists are playing an important role in moving the country toward peace. This thesis presents, through analysis of this case study, a form for contemporary understanding and application of Sharp's theory in order to help promote the use of nonviolent action as an organized alternative to violent defense and warfare.
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