From Dissent to Democracy: The Promise and Perils of Civil Resistance Transitions


Pinckney, Jonathan (2020) From Dissent to Democracy: The Promise and Perils of Civil Resistance Transitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Peaceful protest is a strong driver for democratization across the globe. Yet, it doesn't always lead to democratic transition, as seen in the Arab Spring revolutions in Egypt or Yemen. Why do some nonviolent transitions end in democracy while others do not? In From Dissent to Democracy, Jonathan Pinckney systematically examines transitions initiated by nonviolent resistance campaigns and argues that two key factors explain whether or not democracy will follow such efforts. First, a movement must sustain high levels of social mobilization. Second, it must direct that mobilization away from revolutionary "maximalist" goals and tactics and towards support for new institutions. Pinckney tests his theory by presenting a global statistical analysis of all political transitions from 1945-2011 and three case studies from Nepal, Zambia, and Brazil. Original and empirically rigorous, this book provides new insights into the intersection of democratization and nonviolent resistance and gives actionable recommendations for how to encourage democratic transitions.

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