From nonviolent practice toward a theory of political power

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This article builds on foundations laid by Etienne de La Boétie to develop a theory of political power, in which violence is a marginalised and marginal phenomenon in the multiple dimensions in which power operates. This positive understanding of nonviolence depends for its success on a willingness to use our own bodies (not those of others) to preserve our own freedom and that of others, the capacity to communicate without intersubjective violence, and numbers. Using examples from nonviolent practice in Israel and occupied Palestinian territory it demonstrates that it is possible to do politics differently without the support of violence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-59
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Power
Issue number1
Early online date24 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Power on 24/12/2019 available online:

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • nonviolence
  • power
  • pacifism
  • Israel
  • Palestine
  • Etienne de la Boétie

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