A Discourse on Nonviolence as a Theory of Change for Peace and Conflict




Mack, Johnny J.

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Can nonviolence as a collective ontological, epistemological, methodological, and ethical framework cohere as a theory of change relevant to today’s global, international, and cross-cultural conflicts? This thesis seeks to frame the discourse on that question, pursuing the answer by critiquing the philosophy of nonviolence, both its coherence and relevance, as a theory of change within the fields of peace and conflict. It will argue that comprehending any logic of nonviolence requires first understanding the dichotomous meanings of violence, and then comprehending them both (violence and nonviolence) as social phenomena impinging on a search for a relevant and responsive nonviolence theory of change. The goal here is to establish a paradigmatic framework to contextualize the study's objective, identify relevant terms for both violence and nonviolence, and argue that structural violence and conscientious nonviolence are the essential elements for building such a theory, particularly for the fields of peace and conflict theory and practice. Finally, it will make a case for the development of a nonviolence theory of change, and prescribing it as operative praxis for effecting positive and sustainable peace.



Nonviolence, Social change, Human development, Conflict resolution, Conflict analysis, Peace