1st Edition

When Nonviolent Civil Resistance Campaigns Fail Demobilized, Escalated and Negotiated Ends

By Kirssa Cline Ryckman Copyright 2025
    248 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines both how and why non-violent civil resistance campaigns fail, and the diverse category of campaigns that fall short.

    Civil resistance campaigns are known for their success, for their ability to overthrow central governments or gain territorial independence. There have been a growing number of civil resistance campaigns in recent decades; however, their rate of success has decreased. More unarmed campaigns are now ending without achieving their ultimate political goals. This study moves beyond the success or failure dichotomy to unpack how nonviolent campaigns end, while also paying attention to the processes that encourage conflict demobilization or transformation. Drawing from the fields of political science, sociology, and nonviolence studies, the book develops a continuum of campaign outcomes that includes full and partial success as forms of positive demobilization as well as disbanding and defeat as forms of negative demobilization. It provides an overarching framework that links sources of internal campaign strength to termination types, and then considers each outcome in depth to explore the reasons why and how campaigns demobilize. The work is global in scope, including descriptive statistics, quantitative analyses, and case illustrations spanning a variety of regions and time periods, from East Germany in 1953 to Suriname in 1984 and Togo in 2013.

    This book will be of much interest to students of civil resistance movements and non-violence, conflict studies, intra-state conflicts and International Relations.


    List of Figures and Tables

    Chapter 1. Introduction: Appreciating How and Why Civil Resistance Campaigns “Fail”

    Chapter 2. Concepts and Measures: Introducing a Continuum of Civil Resistance Termination Types and Dataset

    Chapter 3. Sources of Campaign Strength and their Connection to Civil Resistance Termination Types

    Chapter 4. Positive Demobilization through Partial Success: Compromise to End Civil Resistance Campaigns

    Chapter 5. Escalation: Why Civil Resistance Campaigns Transform to Violent Conflicts

    Chapter 6. Negative Demobilization through Disbanding: Why Movements End without Achieving their Goals

    Chapter 7. Negative Demobilization through Defeat: When and Why States Employ Overwhelming Repression to Break Campaigns

    Chapter 8. Conclusions


    Kirssa Cline Ryckman is an Assistant Professor in the School of Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona, USA.