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Advancing Nonviolence and Social Transformation

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Nonviolence is emerging as a topic of great interest in activist, academic and community settings. In particular, nonviolence is being recognized as a necessary component of constructive and sustainable social change. This book considers nonviolence in relationship to specific social, political, ecological and spiritual issues. Through case studies and examinations of social resistance, gender, the arts, and education, it provides specialists and non-specialists with a solid introduction to the importance and relevance of nonviolence in various contexts.

Advancing Nonviolence and Social Transformation is organized into five sections. The first section is a set of essays on various historical and contemporary perspectives on nonviolence. The second section consists of essays on philosophical and theoretical explorations of the topic. The third and fourth sections expand the scope of nonviolence into the areas of thought and action, including Indigenous resistance, student protests, human trafficking, intimate partner violence and ecological issues. The final section takes nonviolence into the study of wonder, music, education and hope. The book will be useful to anyone working in the theories and practices of social change.

Published: Nov 1, 2016

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
Foreword Elizabeth May
Acknowledgements Heather Eaton, Lauren Levesque
Current Trends and New Perspectives on Nonviolent Theories Heather Eaton
Part I: Historical Perspectives
Chapter 1. Religion and Nonviolence Christopher Chapple
Chapter 2. The Gandhian Vision of Democracy Ramin Jahanbegloo
Chapter 3. Power Perfected in Weakness: The Paradox of Fighting for Peace Alain Tschudin
Chapter 4. A Brief History of the Power of Nonviolence in Canada Tamara Lorincz
Chapter 5. Gandhi in Action: Nonviolent Movements, Gandhi, and Contemporary Challenges Rajagopal P. V., Jill Carr-Harris
Part II: Philosophical and Theoretical Considerations
Chapter 6. Violence and Power: A Reading of Hannah Arendt's Distinction between Violence and Power Sophie Cloutier
Chapter 7. Victory: A Vacuous Concept? Richard Feist
Chapter 8. Reflecting on Gandhian Nonviolence: Is it a Counsel of Perfection for Religious Virtuosi? Noel Salmond
Chapter 9. No to War and Yes to So Much More: Pope Francis, Principled Nonviolence, and Positive Peace Christopher Hrynkow
Part III: Nonviolence and Social Resistance
Chapter 10. Indigenous Voices Tara Williamson, Glen Coulthard, Jessica Gordan, Nina Wilson, Syliva McAdam, Sheelah McLean, Waneek Horn-Miller
Chapter 11. Sex, Gender and Non-Violent Resistance to Human Trafficking: An NGO’s Response Eileen Kerwin Jones
Chapter 12: Women Seeking Safety: Nonviolent Responses to Intimate Partner Violence Catherine Holtmann
Chapter 13. Instrumentalizing the Ambiguity of Violence in the Carré Rouge: The Quebec Student Crisis of 2012 Marie Boglari, Martin Samson
Part IV: Nonviolence and Ecological Concerns
Chapter 14. Being in 'Rights' Relationship with Animals: The Importance of Political Visibility for Animals Nathan Townend
Chapter 15. Deep Green Violence: Our Animal Bodies as Sites of Resistance Todd LeVasseur
Chapter 16. Nurturing Peace by Subverting Violence in the Larger Community Paul Waldau
Part V: Nonviolence and Future Directions
Chapter 17. Wondering about Wonder as an Antidote to Our Violence against Earth Simon Appolloni
Chapter 18. Music and Nonviolence: Reflections on Possibility and Hope Lauren Levesque
Chapter 19. The Case for Child Honouring Raffi Cavoukian
Chapter 20. Violence, Nonviolence, Anti-violence and Contra-Violence in Environmental Education Practice Richard Kool
End Matter
Bibliography Heather Eaton, Lauren Levesque
Index Heather Eaton, Lauren Levesque


Provides an invaluable contribution in making the case for a better world and a nonviolent future. By drawing together thinkers and doers across a wide range of disciplines, Heather Eaton and Lauren Michelle Levesque have created a solid analysis for social change.
Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party Canada

Active nonviolence is the basis for the culture of peace now struggling to replace the old culture of war. Here is a studious, penetrating examination of the many sides of nonviolence. Students and civil society activists will benefit from this book.
Hon. Douglas Roche, former Canadian Senator and Ambassador for Disarmament

Nonviolence is the most important--and most neglected--path forward for humanity, and this breathtaking new collection offers many new insights into the way of nonviolence for our troubled world. I hope many will read it, discuss it, and share it widely so that together we can 'advance nonviolence' for positive social transformation for justice, disarmament and peace. We can all become nonviolent. We can all work for a more nonviolent world. We can all join the global grassroots movement for a new future of nonviolence. This wise book is a gift that can help us with the task ahead.
John Dear, activist, author, and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

A book that will prove useful for a wide range of readers. Those interested in nonviolence will find in it a thought-provoking and stimulating read, one that deepens their practice. Educators will have another potential text to use, and certainly a fine resource from which to draw readings. Moreover, activists interested in effective social change will find fodder for improving their work.
Peace Research: the Canadian Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies

The book strikes an overall balance between the breadth of its topics and the depth of its analyses. The book advances the theorization and practice of nonviolence while avoiding any idealization of nonviolence as a panacea or one-size-fits-all solution. Contributing to academic and activist engagements with nonviolence, this anthology does an exemplary job of crossing disciplinary boundaries to provide a comprehensive account of a complex topic that touches everyone, all humans and indeed the whole Earth community. For personal and professional use by anyone concerned about facilitating positive social change, this book is worth reading, discussing, sharing, and enacting.

This book is well organized, critical, and an important read for those looking to make change and shun violence as a viable long-term solution to a new society. My own work on trauma and peacebuilding has been enriched through a reading of this work and I could see myself using some of the book’s cogent arguments and articles as I continue to teach conflict transformation and transitional justice at my university.
Peace & Change

A much-needed contribution to scholarship on nonviolence. Brings great value in its attention to making louder critical discussions about nonviolence and providing new lenses for the reader to see nonviolence as a necessary approach to constructive and peaceful social transformation.
International Journal on World Peace