The Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award is given for the best book published in the U.S. during the previous calendar year on government, politics, or international affairs. The award is supported by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
Award Committee: Robert S. Erikson, Columbia University; Margit Tavits, Washington University; Leslie Paul Thiele, University of Florida
Recipient: Erica Chenoweth, University of Denver and Maria J. Stephan, U.S. State Department
Title: Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia University Press)
Citation: Why Civil Resistance Works is the first scholarly work to provide a rigorous demonstration that nonviolent movements are more effective than violent ones in defeating authoritarian regimes and establishing durable democracies. The authors statistically test their claim using an original dataset that includes all known major nonviolent and violent resistance campaigns from 1900-2006. They supplement their quantitative analyses with rich, detailed and systematic narratives, persuasively challenging the belief that violence is necessary to achieve political goals. The book is an outstanding work of political science that illuminates one of the most important questions: how to promote social and political change in authoritarian regimes. Given the aspirations of many nations to replace repressive regimes with stable democracies, it is especially commendable that the authors have presented their work in a manner accessible to a wide audience. Why Civil Resistance Works is a very timely achievement.