Reconstructing Nonviolence: A New Theory and Practice for a Post-Secular Society, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Reconstructing Nonviolence

A New Theory and Practice for a Post-Secular Society, 1st Edition

By Roberto Baldoli


172 pages

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Hardback: 9781138553897
pub: 2018-09-12
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pub: 2018-09-03
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Nonviolent methods of action have been a powerful tool since the early twentieth century for social protest and revolutionary social and political change, and there is diffuse awareness that nonviolence is an efficient spontaneous choice of movements, individuals and whole nations. Yet from a conceptual standpoint, nonviolence struggles to engage with key contemporary political issues: the role of religion in a post-secular world; the crisis of democracy; and the use of supposedly ‘nonviolent techniques’ for violent aims.

Drawing on classic thinkers and contemporary authors, in particular the Italian philosopher Aldo Capitini, this book shows that nonviolence is inherently a non-systematic and flexible system with no pure, immaculate thought at its core. Instead, at the core of nonviolence there is praxis, which is impure because while it aims at freedom and plurality it is made of less than perfect actions performed in an imperfect environment by flawed individuals.

Offering a more progressive, transformative and at the same time pluralistic concept of nonviolence, this book is an original conceptual analysis of political theory which will appeal to students of international relations, global politics, security studies, peace studies and democratic theory.


"This book is an important contribution to our knowledge of the Italian philosopher Aldo Capitini. At the beginning of the 1960s, Capitini was the precursor of concepts with great importance for our post-industrial societies, such as omnicracy, open religion, centre for social orientation, compresence between dead and new generations. Finally, this book is a very interesting work in the historiography of nonviolence and about the lesser known but profound intellectual Aldo Capitini." - Mario López-Martínez, Professor of Contemporary History, University of Granada

"In this ambitious and insightful book, Roberto Baldoli seeks to cross the divide between principled and pragmatic approaches to nonviolence. He does so by drawing generously from several familiar traditions while generating new insights. Nonviolence, for Baldoli and his fellow travellers in the universalist vein, is a way of life which manifests ethics while eschewing dogmatism. Baldoli’s book will be of enduring value for the praxis of nonviolence by the secular and faithful alike." - John Heathershaw, Associate Professor of International Relations, University of Exeter

Table of Contents

Foreword by Ramin Jahanbegloo



1. The Success of a Division

2. The Other Side of Success

3. The Nonviolence of Aldo Capitini

4. The ‘Reality of All’: Protests-to-Project, Transformative Realism, and Open Religion

5. Reconstructing Nonviolence: Ideology for Freedom and Plurality

6. Nonviolence in Practice: Conflict, Democracy and Religion


About the Author

Roberto Baldoli is Associate Lecturer at the University of Exeter, and a member of the Centre for European Governance. He received his PhD in Politics from the University of Exeter in 2015. His main research interests revolve around nonviolence and European Politics. He published on the role of nonviolence to create a post-secular society as well as on different aspects of European politics, such as the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), the Spitzenkandidaten Procedure and the Precautionary Principle.

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Routledge Innovations in Political Theory

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