This introductory text presents an overview of the central philosophical approaches to nonviolence, and of nonviolent practice through history. It examines the understanding of nonviolence developed in key religious traditions and in contemporary philosophies. Each religious approach to nonviolence will be discussed in great depth through examples drawn from Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Key theorists of nonviolence, from Socrates and Tolstoy through to the contemporary scholar of pragmatic nonviolence, Gene Sharp, will also be examined — along with their critics. Our understanding of these different traditions and philosophies will then illuminate the practice of key political figures of peace-making, from Martin Luther King and Desmond Tutu to the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi, and the techniques of recent nonviolent movements, such as the Green Movement in Iran and elements of the Arab Spring. Though discussed individually, the reader will find common elements in all of them, which gives the book a systematic approach to the general theme of nonviolence.
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