Swarthmore College Department of

Peace & Conflict Studies Blog

Professor Lee Smithey Reflects on Nonviolent Resistance Movements in Tunisia and Egypt

Swarthmore’s News and Information office recently posted a story on the emergence of mass nonviolent resistance in the Middle East.

Lee Smithey, associate professor of sociology and coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, recently published an article in The Atlantic regarding the revolutionary nonviolent resistance movement that toppled the long-established authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. The article addresses “a shared set of ideas about nonviolent resistance” from “a new generation of scholars and advocates” such as Gene Sharp, whose inspirational role in the Arab peace movement was featured in a widely-read article in the New York Times.

According to Smithey, successful nonviolent resistance can be attributed to the large-scale impact of regular citizens who withdraw from their daily activities and responsibilities, thus applying a range of economic, political, and social pressures to coerce a regime into complying.   Read the whole story.