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By Francesca Feltrin (December 2020)

Table of contents

Introduction 2

Nonviolent Communications 3

Marshall Rosenberg Ideas and Development 5

Nonviolent Conflict Resolution and Conflict Mediation 6

Galtung Transcend Methods 6

Nonviolent Non-Cooperation 7

Gandhi and The Non-Cooperation Movement 7

Nonviolent Resistance or Obstruction 8

Martin Luther King Jr. 6 Fundamental Principles 9

Conclusion 10

Footnote 11

Bibliography 11


The world relies on violence more than anything; any disagreement seems to be met with violence, wars that bring pain and death worldwide. So, when we talk about nonviolence, we want to introduce a peaceful way to express different ideas or disagreements with others. There are many forms of nonviolent actions that have been used throughout history, so they were successful, and some failed, but they still made a significant impact on the world and people's beliefs. Nonviolent actions are categorized into Nonviolent Communications, Nonviolent Conflict Resolution and Conflict Mediation, Nonviolent Non-Cooperation, Nonviolent Resistance, or Obstruction. Each step is followed by the next one; when we cannot achieve our goal, we move on and try the next step.

  • Nonviolent Communications: focuses on understanding our opponents by merely observing them. How they interact, what kind of feeling they are expressing, their needs, and finally, what request they might have. By allowing the counterpart to explain themself and showing support and communication with them, there is an excellent chance that we would also avoid possible conflict.

  • Nonviolent Conflict Resolution and Conflict Mediation:. When Nonviolent Communications is not able to resolve a conflict then in this step we focus on listening to both parts and finding an agreement that might work for both sides. We are actively working for a resolution, comprising and clarifying the issue without using force by creating a middle ground where everyone can agree on.

  • Nonviolent Non-Cooperation: when conflicting parties involved refuse to collaborate, or they refuse to abstain or to be associated with a specific group, then this is a powerful way to show disagreement and indicate a need to change things around by stopping cooperation in projects and activities. This step is usually taken when the unreasonable party is a clear authority such as a government or corporation.

  • Nonviolent Resistance or Obstruction: when all attempts at communications and mediation have failed, and one of the parties is not listening to the needs and concerns of the other, then the other party begins moving toward more concrete actions that involve civil disobedience, protests, and noncooperation. Often these steps are designed to expose the unreasonable actions and policies of the other party. These actions are also strategically designed to expose the injustice or inequality in order to shame the oppressor in the public arena which often forces them to change. This form of nonviolence is used to express dissent on issues and bring attention to meaningful causes to society.

With these four forms of nonviolent actions, we can achieve changes worldwide without violence - wars, conflict, and deaths. We are expressing dissent over specific issues and try to reach a common ground for everybody. In this paper, we will also discuss if any of the ideas of Galtungs can be applied to those forms of Nonviolent actions and how positive peace and negative peace might be tied to them.

Nonviolent Communications

Nonviolent communications are the first step to resolve issues by only talking to each other and understanding the different points of view, and trying to mediate a solution. nonviolent communications have four steps: observation, feeling, needs, and request. We start by taking a step back and observing the situation. In this first step, there is no judgment and brings both parties to reflect on the problem. The second step is to take into account our counterparts and our feelings. What emotions do we have? Are we happy, angry, feel disrespect, confusion? It is essential to talk about how we think without making the other part feeling guilty or responsible for our feelings. The third step is identifying our needs. What do we need? What can make us comfortable and happy? It is crucial to consider that everyone has needs, and when they are not met, we might feel angry or frustrated. The last step is to make our request. We are asking for concrete actions to resolve issues. We are going to cooperate and mediate to a solution that can meet everyone’s needs. We are helping each other reach a more internal personal peace so that we can live peacefully together. It is essential in nonviolent communication to take into account both parties so that we can make sure that we are involved in the mediation and that, in the end, we don't feel any anger or unhappiness.

Marshall Rosenberg Ideas and Development

Marshall Rosenberg, also known as the creator of nonviolent communication (NVC), was a psychologist who grew up in a turbulent Detroit; he dedicated his life to studying and teaching nonviolent communication. He believed that we could be compassionate; during this process, it is our duty to remain human and be open-minded to others' needs and feelings. He describes the four steps above regarding the different components of NVC, but he also lists three modes that are important to the application of NVC:

  • Empathy: how is the person presenting, what feeling are they expressing? We observe who is standing in front of us without judgment but as humans who have problems or feelings to talk about. We try to feel what they feel so that we can understand better and help them.

  • Self-Empathy: understanding the counterpart is essential, but after we have done that, we need to look back at ourselves and how we feel. Are we scared, happy, or angry? What is being said by the other person that makes us feel? We need to look at our feelings and understand what we think and why we think that way.

  • Self-expression: after understanding others and ourselves, we can finally be able to express the feelings and try to mediate a solution by taking into account both parts and be mindful of our actions, emotions, and expressions.

This first form of nonviolent action can be closely connected to Galtung's idea of positive peace. We are not just taking away the conflict and ending it, but there is a whole process of understanding each issue and going to the root of the problem. We are all talking and understanding our counterpart, which is fundamental to building and sustain a peaceful relationship.

Nonviolent Conflict Resolution and Conflict Mediation

Nonviolent conflict resolution and conflict mediation need excellent skills in negotiation and diplomacy. When two parties engage in a disagreement or conflict, there is a need to find a solution and act as a liaison between the two parties. We don't want this to escalate into violence, but we want to find a quick and effective solution to make everyone happy. This method requires rigorous training in conflict resolution and mediation.

Galtung Transcend Methods

Galtung's methods are based on different religious premises (Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Daoist, Islamic, and Judaic) that are based on who caused the conflict, its source, and how we can build a dialogue to solve this problem. The transcendental method aims to look at the conflict from outside the box.

  • We are looking at it from the outside and how can we redefine the issue

  • It is essential to look at all the parties involved, their involvement, and the problems.

  • Create a dialogue with each part so they can express their concern, and we can map out an effective solution

  • being creative in finding a standard solution that can help to sustain peace from both sides

  • There is no need to manipulate, but we need to be honest, and in the end, we are not looking to be thanked for the work done during the mediation.

If we connect these methods to Galtung's other positive peace theories and negative peace, this method will probably stand in between the two. We can have a friendly and easy resolution where both parties are willing to collaborate and find a standard solution and build together and sustain peace. But if this method is done for an easy and quick solution to end the conflict, we might end up with negative ease, which might lead to possible disagreement in the future. Galtung also discusses that during the process of mediation and negotiation, sometimes it is important to utilize creativity and find a solution that will help restore peace and make it last for the long run.

Nonviolent Non-Cooperation

Nonviolent cooperation is the next step; this involves different parties. In non-cooperation, we are looking at a form of civil disobedience and social pressure. For example, some parties refuse to collaborate with others or accept their demands. Thus methods are used to put social pressure and demand changes with the government. It is used to bring attention to specific issues that concern the well-being of society.

Gandhi and The Non-Cooperation Movement

Probably the most famous non-cooperation movement in history was the one guided by Gandhi in 1920. After a tragic massacre of hundreds of Indians by the British troops, Gandhi organized this nonviolent protest where Indians were slowly boycotting the government to demand their independence from the British. This was involving not paying taxes, resigning from the government, not purchasing foreign goods. Unfortunately, this movement was called off by Gandhi himself because of the insurgent of violent conflict. Even if this was a failed movement, it still had such a powerful impact that brought attention to the issue, and it is always talked about years and years after it had happened. In this case, the movement did not get the resolution, but what cause and the talking and the dissent from the Indian population brought the country to fight for their independence.

With this movement, we have the initial negative peace that Galtung talks about the initial conflict resolution that might lead to future conflict, but after it was met positive peace. It took a long time for India to obtain independence from Britain, but we still remember the work of Gandhi as one of the most potent ways to fight against a government without violence. The noncooperation action brings attention to the root problem of the general unhappiness and frustration of society. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always mean that a long-lasting peace will be created, but it gives the courage and a chance to the people to get their voices heard.

Nonviolent Resistance or Obstruction

The definitive resource for nonviolent actions is nonviolent resistance or obstructions, which can take different forms such as civil disobedience, protest, marches. People go down on the street to bring their dissent for other causes that usually involve government decisions. Many ways can be used on the roads, from posters, whistling, motorcades, lockouts, student or workers' strikes. All different methods can also be found in Gene Sharp Books 198 Methods of Nonviolent Protest.

Martin Luther King Jr. 6 Fundamental Principles

  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.

  2. "Friendship and understanding" of the opponent, not to humiliate him.

  3. Fight against injustice, not people.

  4. Those committed to nonviolence must be willing to suffer without retaliation as suffering itself can be redemptive.

  5. Avoids "external physical violence" and "internal violence of spirit."

  6. Have faith in the future and believe in Justice

Martin Luther King Jr., who was inspired by Gandhi's work and his peaceful protest, utilized himself some tactics of civil disobedience from marches and protest and the use of powerful speeches to seek justice and achieve his goals. He was able to inspire people and give them hope through his lessons, which people worldwide know about. Another important figure is also James Lawson, who again was inspired by the work of Gandhi, and he started a different nonviolent campaign against racial discirmination. A group of students who were inspired by the teaching of Lawson decides to test nonviolent action such as “Sit-in.” It was an interracial group of students who sat down at the designated “White-Only” lunch counter. They faced aggression, insults, and oppression from other students, but they didn't give up. Soon they caught the news’s attention, and other students started to join this movement, which ended up involving thousands of students from all over the country.

Nonviolent resistance can drive to positive peace and lay the ground for peace and fight problems at the sources; the issue here is whether society is ready for those changes? If part of a community wants changes, but the other is okay with the problem, we can have a successful winning and positive peace. For example, recently, we have a movement like the Black Lives Matter. Here some issues are worth fighting for, but then we see that not the whole population is agreeing, and there is no real support from the government either. It is challenging to make progressive changes, but small modifications or merely rising to the world are essential issues. It can bring us closer to a solution.


We are taught that war is necessary, and violence is needed to reach a specific goal. We are not trained enough to make a powerful impact without hurting anyone, but understanding their needs and having empathy for our enemy. We need to fight for our rights and beliefs but not with guns but instead with kindness. We are human, and it is natural to encounter conflict, but how we choose to react is essential. We may select violence that will bring death, wars, and unhappiness all around us, or we can select nonviolent actions that will make the same impact without hurting anyone.


1- (Mclellan 2016)

2- (Mclellan 2016)

3- (The Center for Nonviolent Communication, n.d.)

4-(The Center for Nonviolent Communication, n.d.)

5-(“What is Nonviolent Communication? Content by PuddleDancer Press. Use of content okay with attribution. Please visit to learn more about Nonviolent Communication.”, n.d.)

6- ibid


8- Rosenberg (2015)

9- ibid


11-(Bojensen 2018)

12-(Galtung 2017)

13- (Galtung 2000, #)





18-(Galtung 2017)

19-(The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica 2015)


21- (“nonviolent Non-co-operation”, n.d.)

22-(The King Center, n.d.)


24- (King, n.d.)




Bojensen, Julie A., 2018. “Communication in conflict and peace.”

The Center for Nonviolent Communication. n.d. “NVC Instruction Self-Guide.”

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2015. “Noncooperation movement.” Brittanica.

Galtung, Johan. 2000. “Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means (The Transcend Method).”

Galtung, Johan. 2017. “The TRANSCEND Method: Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means.” Transcend Media Service.

King, Mary E. n.d. “What Makes Lawson’s Role Unique?” James Lawson Institute.

The King Center. n.d. “The King Philosophy.”

Mclellan, Lila. 2016. “The scientifically proven, step-by-step guide to having a breakthrough conversation across party lines.” quartz.

“Nonviolence.” n.d. Stanford The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.

“nonviolent Non-co-operation.” n.d. MkGandhi.

Rosenbergs, Marshall. 2015. “The Heart of Nonviolent Communication.” A PuddleDancer Press Book.

“What is Nonviolent Communication? Content by PuddleDancer Press. Use of content okay with attribution. Please visit to learn more about Nonviolent Communication.” n.d. Puddle dancer publication.


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