Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

This study examines the nonviolent resistance starting in 1977 that students, lawyers, journalists, women's organizations, and others, mounted against repressive rule in Sierra Leone, a country known to many mostly for its violent civil war (1991–2002) and “blood diamonds” that helped fuel it. The study argues that social movement theories, though developed in the West, can help explain such resistance–but only with some revisions. The resistance in Sierra Leone took place without the kind of exogenous “opportunities” and resources normally associated with movements in the democratic West. The study offers alternative explanations that expand the usual concept of social movements in resource-poor and repressive circumstances. Some of the resistance came from sources not normally recognized in traditional movements; commitment and the power of ideas helped activists compensate for lack of material resources. In addition, early challenges encouraged later ones, gradually creating a culture of resistance. Moreover, the relatively small-scale of the movements and loose organization made them harder to repress.

Publication Title

African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review

Volume

2

Issue

1

First Page

31

Last Page

57

Find in your library

Share

 
COinS