This report explores the complementary ideas and practices that civil resistance and peacebuilding approaches present, each from different points along the conflict transformation spectrum. Both strategies oppose violence in all its forms, and seek to pursue just peace by peaceful means. However, they take different approaches to conflict transformation, both in their analyses of the primary causes of violence and how they respond to conflict. The report then describes how civil resistance and peacebuilding can work in tandem throughout the four stages of transformation of asymmetric conflicts. Concrete examples are provided to illustrate the respective functions of constructive conflict (through civil resistance) and conflict mitigation (through peacebuilding) in transitions from latent to overt conflict, from resistance to dialogue and negotiation, and from conflict settlement to sustainable peace. It highlights in particular:
- the crucial importance of civil resistance as a violence prevention/mitigation instrument and as a pre-negotiation strategy for oppressed groups, enabling them to wage necessary conflicts through nonviolent means, thereby putting pressure on incumbent elites to redistribute power equitably;
- the usefulness of peacebuilding’s conflict mitigation methods to translate civil resistance gains
into mutually acceptable negotiated outcomes and to reconcile polarized relationships in the
wake of nonviolent struggles; and
- the need for sustained civil resistance in post-conflict or post-war societies in order to prevent
and oppose autocratic backlashes, to resist anti-emancipatory, and ‘neoliberal’ tendencies within
post-war peacebuilding operations, or to put pressure on all stakeholders to implement their
commitments to progressive state reforms and social justice.
The conclusion highlights takeaways for researchers, nonviolent activists and educators, peacebuilding practitioners and international agencies seeking to support constructive, effective conflict transformation.