Nonviolent Discipline: A Comparative Analysis of Tiananmen Square 1989 and Gwangju 1980
Previous research on nonviolence movements in East Asia has explored factors which may have contributed to an increase in peace in the region. However the conditions which influence maintaining nonviolent discipline within nonviolence movements are under-researched and invite further investigation. Evidence of a correlation between the way a conflict is resolved and the levels of freedom experienced indicates that groups or movements who do maintain nonviolent discipline have a good chance of creating greater freedom post-conflict (Ackerman and Rodal 2008, p.119).This thesis identifies the conditions present in two nonviolence movements in East Asia: China, Tiananmen Square, 1989 where nonviolence was maintained and South Korea, Gwangju, 1980 where nonviolence was not maintained. An analytical framework is developed to compare the case studies in order to understand how the conditions of each setting may have influenced the dependent variable; nonviolent discipline. This is done by assessing the contextual, motivating, interaction and resulting factors, the independent variables, in each case.The analysis of the case studies and independent variables suggest three influential factors for maintaining nonviolent discipline: the timeframe, ecology of social space, and external influence. First, time may influence whether a nonviolence movement chooses a strategic response or an emotive reaction. Nonviolent discipline appears to be more easily maintained when there is time to unify and commit to nonviolent tactics. Second, the physical location, control of space, and the symbolism attached to a place may influence whether nonviolent discipline is maintained or not. Third and finally, the external influence of third parties in particular the positive or negative perspective of media reports may impact on the ability of a group to maintain nonviolent discipline.Tiananmen 1989, committed to nonviolence, yet the outcome for China was not greater freedom. Gwangju 1980 was not able to commit to nonviolence, and yet the long term results for Korea have enabled greater freedom overall. Further research is needed to understand more fully the conditions under which nonviolent discipline is maintained in nonviolence movements and whether this may in turn, strengthen the potential for positive outcomes and greater freedom.
Advisor: Brounéus, Karen
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Peace and Conflict Studies
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Gwangju; nonviolence; nonviolent; discipline; Tiananmen
Research Type: Thesis