What can Positive Peace tell us about protest movements and civil resistance campaigns around the world? We dissect the topic with data and research.

How Positive Peace affects protest movements

Research from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) shows that most violent resistance campaigns and protest movements occur in countries with weaker levels of Positive Peace.

According to IEP, stronger Positive Peace translates into more opportunities for nonviolent conflict resolution.

In countries with weaker Positive Peace, campaigns tend to use violence more often and their goals are typically major structural or regime change. While these aggressive campaigns can achieve some gains, they tend to fall short of major concessions without regime change.

Violent civil resistance movements only occur in extreme circumstances in countries with stronger Positive Peace.

Countries with stronger Positive Peace are more resilient in times of civil unrest. Civil resistance and protest movements tend to be smaller, linger for shorter periods, have moderate aims, are more likely to achieve their goals, and be far less violent.

The differences between countries can be striking: 91 per cent of all violent civil resistance campaigns have been waged in countries with weaker Positive Peace.

The sudden social disruption of civil resistance campaigns are known as endogenous shocks and particular conditions may change rapidly or build over time and result in unexpected events that have the potential to spark violence.

According to IEP, shocks can be endogenous or exogenous.

They can be catastrophic events that directly cause loss of life or events that trigger the outbreak of violence. Some shocks can be positive events, such as peace negotiations, the introduction of a new technology or the discovery of a new mineral resource deposit.

Endogenous shocks arise from conditions inside a society including economic shocks, industrial disasters, political revolutions, we well as civil resistance campaigns. Exogenous originate from outside the national system, such as natural disasters.

While endogenous shocks are still difficult to predict, IEP data shows that more internal shocks take place in low Positive Peace countries, and the types of shocks differ depending on the levels of Positive Peace.