Dr. Jonathan Pinckney is a senior researcher for USIP’s Program on Nonviolent Action.

He joined USIP after two years as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, where he supervised the Anatomy of Resistance Campaigns Project. Prior to that, he worked as a research fellow at the Sie Cheou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy, where he supervised the Social Conflict Analysis Database and the Nonviolent and Violent Campaigns and Outcomes Data Project, version 3.0.

Dr. Pinckney is a well-known expert on nonviolent action, focusing on the intersection between nonviolent movements, democratization, and peace processes and the use of statistical analysis and big data to better understand nonviolent mobilization. He speaks frequently on the origins, dynamics, and consequences of nonviolent action and has taught undergraduate courses on civil resistance and international relations.

Dr. Pinckney received both a master’s and doctorate from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and a bachelor’s from Gordon College. He is the author of “From Dissent to Democracy: The Promise and Perils of Civil Resistance Transitions,” published by Oxford University Press, as well as numerous articles in major media outlets such as Foreign Policy and The Washington Post and top-ranking academic journals such as International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Peace Research, and Conflict Management and Peace Science.

Publications By Jonathan

Can Civil Resistance Breakthroughs Advance Democracy?

Can Civil Resistance Breakthroughs Advance Democracy?

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

By: Jonathan Pinckney

We are in one of the largest waves of nonviolent resistance in history. Even the COVID-19 pandemic could not stop massive uprisings in Thailand, Belarus, Myanmar and elsewhere as ordinary citizens use nonviolent tactics to challenge entrenched authoritarians and demand reform. Yet, even as more and more people have hit the streets to push for change, the Varieties of Democracy project reports that global democracy has never been weaker and the long trend of growing autocracy has only accelerated. What can be done to turn this around?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Nonviolent Action

Myanmar in the Streets: A Nonviolent Movement Shows Staying Power

Myanmar in the Streets: A Nonviolent Movement Shows Staying Power

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

By: Zarchi Oo; Billy Ford; Jonathan Pinckney

The people of Myanmar have opposed military rule in the past but never like this: In the face of horrific brutality by a lawless regime, Burmese have risen up in an historic national movement of nonviolent resistance. Led by young women, the fractious country has united across ethnic, generational and class lines, weaponizing social norms and social media in a refusal to accept the generals’ February 1 seizure of power.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Nonviolent Action

2021 Will See More Global Protest: Can It Remain Peaceful?

2021 Will See More Global Protest: Can It Remain Peaceful?

Thursday, January 21, 2021

By: Jonathan Pinckney; Emmanuel Davalillo Hidalgo

After years of steadily rising nonviolent action movements from 2009 to 2019, the eruption of the coronavirus 10 months ago forced an initial lull. But movements in virtually every region of the world soon rebounded—and while destructive riots periodically seized headlines, data show that public demonstrations in 2020 remained overwhelmingly peaceful. Evidence suggests that 2021 will continue to see high levels of mass mobilization. If anything, pandemic-driven economic recession and deepening inequalities are likely to spur increased demonstrations. It will be up to governments to respond in ways that can keep mass action peaceful and engage movements to redress their grievances.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Nonviolent Action

When the World Moves On: What’s Next for Nigeria’s EndSARS Movement?

When the World Moves On: What’s Next for Nigeria’s EndSARS Movement?

Thursday, December 10, 2020

By: Jonathan Pinckney; Erin Zamora

This week, protesters once again filled the streets of several Nigerian cities as activists called for “Phase II” of the #EndSARS protests that rocked the country in October. While the protesters’ initial grievances focused on police violence by the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), many in the movement have since expanded its aims, criticizing government corruption, with some calling for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari. While the initial protests seemed to have faded after the army opened fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate plaza in Lagos, the underlying grievances of the protesters remain unresolved.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Nonviolent Action

Mali’s Coup: Harbinger of Hope or Uncertainty

Mali’s Coup: Harbinger of Hope or Uncertainty

Thursday, September 10, 2020

By: Anushka Bose; Jonathan Pinckney

Last year was one of the most dramatic years of nonviolent action in recent memory, with millions taking to the streets to push for greater economic equality, democratic representation, and social justice. Some of the most dramatic uprisings took place in Africa, where longstanding repressive political regimes were forced from power in Sudan and Algeria, and protests over fuel prices in Zimbabwe led to a government crackdown. The recent almost entirely bloodless coup Mali, in which soldiers abducted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and forced him to resign capped a similar uprising, but is complicated by the role of the military in the president’s ouster and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Nonviolent Action

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