Breaking Laws: Violence and Civil Disobedience in Protest

Isabelle Sommier, Graeme A Hayes, Sylvie Ollitrault

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Breaking Laws focuses on the emergence and evolution of new and radical modes of activism in what we might call the ‘long 1960s’, from the emergence of the civil rights movement as a mass movement in the USA in the mid-1950s through to the protest cycle of 1968 and its aftermath, in which movements adopting forms of armed struggle, and movements adopting forms of non-violent direct action, challenged state power. Both Isabelle Sommier's analysis of revolutionary violence and Graeme Hayes and Sylvie Ollitrault's discussion of civil disobedience ask us to re-address normative accounts of the relationship between radicalism, the use of violence, and collective action. Both privilege contextual understanding, placing their accounts of movement development and strategic choice within the situated histories of the emergence of these movements; both focus on the importance of discursive legitimation, and on the interpretive work that social movement actors do, in order to produce political and social challenge.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages274
ISBN (Electronic)9789048528271
ISBN (Print)9789089649348
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019

Publication series

NameProtest and Social Movements
PublisherAmsterdam University Press


  • Social movements
  • Violence
  • civil disobedience


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