Recent scholarship suggests that norms of nonviolent contestation strongly constrain the course of civil resistance campaigns. However, these norms are not uniform across countries. It may be the case that violent campaign groups may successfully mobilize supporters in societies where norms of nonviolent contestation are not established. This study seeks to answer whether campaign onset and tactics are influenced by public opinion, and if so, specifically what components of public opinion do so. We disaggregate public opinion into those on campaign tactics and campaign goals, and argue that public opinion on campaign goals affects the initiation of civil campaigns, while that on campaign tactics affects the peacefulness of a campaign. Using the AmericasBarometer and Afrobarometer, we demonstrate that high satisfaction with democracy, a proxy for public opinion on campaign goals, significantly reduces the likelihood of violent and nonviolent campaigns compared to no campaigns and that the public’s high violence aversion makes violent campaigns less likely compared to nonviolent campaigns.

Author Bio(s)

Kana Inata is an associate professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo, Japan, and may best be reached at kinata@tmu.ac.jp

Wakako Maekawa is an associate professor at Osaka University, Osaka, Japan, and may best be reached at maekawa.wakako.osipp@osaka-u.ac.jp


Civil war: armed conflict: nonviolent campaign: social movement: public opinion





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