Can popular uprisings in autocracies promote political change and democratization? And do violent and non-violent uprisings have different consequences for the subsequent political outcomes? In this policy brief we summarize what recent research can tell us about how large-scale popular mobilization can undermine autocratic rule, and the prospects for subsequent transitions to democracy. While all dissent can bring down rulers, non-violent dissent is much more likely to bring about subsequent transitions to democracy, especially under favorable international contexts. We detail the plausible mechanisms whereby non-violent dissent promotes transition to democracy whereas violence is more likely to lead to new autocracies.
Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede & Mauricio Rivera (2016) Non-Violence and Democratization, PRIO Policy Brief, 16. Oslo: PRIO.