How to Change the World

Does power truly flow from the barrel of a gun? Pop culture and conventional history often teach us that violence is the most effective way to produce change. But is that common assumption actually true? Political scientist Erica Chenoweth, who has studied more than 100 years of revolutions and insurrections, says the answer is counterintuitive. 

Additional Resources


Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know, by Erica Chenoweth, Oxford University Press, 2021.

The Role of External Support in Nonviolent Campaigns: Poisoned Chalice or Holy Grail?, by Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan, monograph for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, 2021.

Civil Action and the Dynamics of Violence, edited by Deborah Avant, et. al, Oxford University Press, 2019.

The Oxford Handbook of Terrorism, edited by Erica Chenoweth, et. al, Oxford University Press, 2019.

The Politics of Terror, by Erica Chenoweth and Pauline Moore, Oxford University Press, 2018.

Recovering Nonviolent History: Civil Resistance in Liberation Struggles, edited by Maciej J. Bartkowski, Lynne Reinner Publishers, 2013.

Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, by Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan, Columbia University Press, 2011.

Rethinking Violence: States and Non-State Actors in Conflict, edited by Erica Chenoweth and Adria Lawrence, MIT Press, 2010.


The Future of Nonviolent Resistance, by Erica Chenoweth, Journal of Democracy, 2020.

The Science of Contemporary Street Protest: New Efforts in the United States, by Dana R Fisher, et. al, Science Advances, 2019.

Women in Resistance Dataset, Version 1, by Erica Chenoweth, Harvard Dataverse, 2019.

Nonviolent and Violent Campaigns and Outcomes (NAVCO) Data Project, by Erica Chenoweth et. al, Harvard Dataverse, 2019.

‘If a Fight Starts, Watch the Crowd’: The Effect of Violence on Popular Support for Social Movements, by Jordi Munoz and Eva Anduiza, Journal of Peace Research, 2019.

State Repression and Nonviolent Resistance, by Erica Chenoweth, Evan Perkoski, and Sooyeon Kang, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2017

Can Structural Conditions Explain the Onset of Nonviolent Uprisings?, by Erica Chenoweth and Jay Ulfelder, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2015.


Erica Chenoweth’s recent opinion piece in the Washington Post about non violent resistance in Ukraine

Erica Chenoweth’s TEDxBoulder talk on the success of nonviolent civil resistance.


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