Non violent action is arguably a universal phenomenon, inthe sense that it occurs throughout history and across social and politicalsystem. It defines its subject as an aspect of actions, generally collectiveaction, in social, political or economic conflict. Nonviolent action istherefore neither passivity, nor a part of institutionalized politics, norviolence. This action remains poorly understood as a distinctive phenomenon asit overlaps other human behaviors that receive much more study on their ownsuch as conflict, state violence etc. Nonviolent action is a technique of conducting protest,resistance, and intervention without physical violence by :(a) acts ofomission(that is, the participants refuse to perform acts which they usuallyperform, or are required by law or regulation to perform); or (b) acts ofcommission (that is, the participants perform acts which they usually do notperform, are not expected by customs to perform, or are forbidden by law orregulation from performing); or (c) a combination of both. (Sharp 1985:51)Non violent action is distinct from conflict resolutionand management techniques as it is a means of protest, resistance andintervention.
It also operates beyond institutionalized means for conductingand setting disputes in a given social or political system. The conduct andeffect of non violent actions in conflict can be assessed independently ofwhether physical violence and material destruction are present in sameconflict. The existence of nonviolent actions requires neither the powerful totolerate active opposition. It is a unilateral initiative by on party respondin kind.
Some of the methods (Sharpidentifies 198 methods)of nonviolent actions Sharp(1973) are Public Speeches, Letters of opposition or support, Slogans, caricatures, and symbols, Humorousskits and pranks, Protest emigration , Dual sovereignty and parallelgovernment and many more.Gandhi believed that nonviolent actions as a whole can bedistinguished from particular methods or limited conceptions of nature. Histhinking begins the task of developing a more economic passing and focused viewof non violent action and its relationship to political object and position.Gandhi’s influenced led to large, uncritical, literature on the relationshipover nonviolence. Politics of Nonviolent Action (sharp) present an extendedhypothesis regarding the relationship of nonviolent action to social andpolitical power.
Krishnalal Shridharni (1939) added academic approach toGandhian strategy of satyagrah, in which he identified the assess the specificadvocacy method of Gandhi.Building upon the knowledge base, some assumptions areeither unstated or not expressed as researchable problem. Inge Powell Bell’sstudy of the congress of Racial Equality in the early 1960s finds thatideological commitment to nonviolence was characteristic of CORE leaders, butnot nearly so much of followers. The technique approach broadens the range ofmotivations and attitudes that can be considered, such as political orideological beliefs, perceptions of the relative costs and benefits ofparticipation and disposition towards particular leaders or away from theexisting social and political problem.
Another assumption that needs to be critically assessedis the belief that highly centralized and charismatic leadership isindispensable in nonviolent action. Clearly the practice of great leaders are butone part of a broader body of technique. Likewise, in a reversal of this timesame trend of thought, the movements for Indian independence and civil rightsin the United States finally become seen as either historically and culturallyunique or the opposite as standards against which all cases are to be compared.Third assumption in research on nonviolent action relatesto how thinkers and activists have traced the process by which nonviolentactions achieves change. one argument proceed like ; first the non violent challengesengages activists in voluntary acceptance of suffering , second ; theirsuffering creates moral contradictions and tensions among the adversaries andthird , contradictions are resolved by a change of minds and heart in theadversaries, leading to the closer understanding and reconciliation of groups.Lakey (1968) and Sharp (1973, 1990) suggest other mechanism of change, whichbroaden the focus of research.
The assumptions of the technique approach can beposed as testable propositions if they are to be the basis of a coherentresearch program. Sharp’s arguments about the nature of power (1973, 1990)offer one set of explanations.Research questions are suggested by the topic.
For example,a scholar might notice that nonviolent actions in a region or an era that he orshe is interested in, and this might spark research to explore itssignificance. This approach doesn’t address research question explicitlysuggested by the concepts and theories of nonviolent action. It makescontribution by adding new insights rather than testing the theory. It’s noteasy to specify the dimension on which the settings of cases are different orsimilar. Secondly, the accumulation of theory from features of case studies hasbeen unsystematic. The case study theory dichotomy implies alternativemethods of theory construction.
The variables of interest would be determinedmostly by the features of cases, the nature of the evidence and possiblefindings and personal theoretical interest of the researcher. Nonviolent action can be viewed as adependent variable or as an independent variable, depending on whether theresearcher is oriented towards its causes or purposes.