People Power and Political Change
Key Issues and Concepts
By April Carter
Routledge – 2012 – 210 pages
This book examines the upsurge in mass popular protest against undemocratic regimes. Relating early revolutions to recent global trends and protests, it examines the significance of ‘people power’ to democracy.
Taking a comparative approach, this text analyses unarmed uprisings in Iran 1977-79, Latin America and Asia in the 1980s, Africa from 1989-1992, 1989 in Eastern Europe and ex-Soviet states after 2000, right up to the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’. The author assesses the influence on people power of global politics and trends, such as the growth of international governmental organizations and international law, citizen networks operating across borders, and emerging media (like Twitter and Wikileaks). Although stressing the positive potential of people power, this text also examines crucial problems of repression, examples of failure and potential political problems, disintegration of empires and the role of power rivalries. Drawing from contemporary debates about democratization and literatures on power, violence and nonviolence, from both academic sources and media perspectives, this text builds an incisive analytical argument about the changing nature of power itself.
People Power and Political Change is a must read for students and scholars of democratic theory, international politics and current affairs.
It would comprise the basis for an excellent syllabus for an advanced graduate course of a semester or term, if not a full year. The book’s structure offers conceptual handles for discussion in faceto-face teaching and would be particularly helpful for those using elicitive methods. The comprehensive bibliography allows readers to take advantage of a reliable scholar’s ongoing engagement with major thinkers who have shaped theory, contemporary works, and her own study of real-world successes and failures of nonviolent action worldwide.
Mary Elizabeth King - University for Peace
Part 1: Resistance and Political Change 1. People Power and Nonviolent Methods in Historical Perspective 2. People Power and People’s War Compared 3. People Power and Changing Theories of Revolution Part 2: Central Concepts and Debates 4. Power, Violence and Unarmed Resistance 5.Constructing the ‘People’: Body Politic, Nation or Class? 6. People Power and Electoral Democracy: ‘Electoral Revolutions’ and Democratization Part 3: Implications of Globalization for Success of People Power 7. Global Trends, Transnational Solidarity and International Politics 8. Conclusion
April Carter is Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies, Coventry University.