Corection and Disruption. Sociology Help

Corection and Disruption.

Civil disobedience is the open and public defiance of the law because of conscience or moral belief [Smith, 1968; Cohen, 1969; Murphy, 1971 Bay, 1975). It is atechnique of nonviolent coercion, resting on the powerful  appeal of the spectacle of people who are willing to suffer for a moral belief. Punishment therefore willingly accepted rather than evaded, in order to publicize and dramatize their belief that the law is unjust. This technique can be highly effective in some situations but requires great self-discipline lest its followers turn to violence. Nonviolent coercion and civil disobedience are most effective in democratic countries where protes-- tors may be arrested but seldom will be shot. In authoritarian countries, such actions are rare [Corcoran, 1977]. Disruption, often calJed demonstration, is a form of coercion which is highly variable in both means and goals. It includes many ways of interrupting and paralyzing the normal day-to-day activities of a social system. Sometimes the goal is to force acceptance of the protestors' demands; sometimes it is to dramatize an issue; sometimes the motive appears to be the exhilarating experience itself, with the goals unimportant. During the 1960s, campus disruptions became common, usually centered on administrative policies or the Vietnam war. Buildings  were seized, offices packed or closed, classes disrupted, 'speakers heckled or shouted down, and (in a very few cases) buildings were burned [President's Commission on Campus Unrest, 1970; Kelman, 1970; Sharp, 1974; Woodward, 1974]. More recent disruptions and demonstrations have usually been directed against nuclear power plant openings. There appear to be some periods or situations in which violence succeeds more often than nonviolence. Gamson (1975)studied fiftythree American groups and movements which promoted various social changes between 1800 and 1945. He claims that tnose which gained their goals were generally the ones that used violence (or, more often, had violence thrust upon them through police or mob attack), while all the nonviolent victims of attack failed to achieve their goals. But violence .is a dangerous weapon. Victories may leave a legacy of bitterness which makes future victories more difficult. Majorities mny move against violence in a wave of a lawand-  order repression that results in minority groups becoming more powerless than ever. TERRORISM. Most people define terrorism  subjectively-one person's terrorist- is another's freedom fighter [Ferencz, 1981). More objectively defined, terrorism is "the use of violence or the threat of violence to coerce governments, authorities and populations by  inducing fear" [Clutterbuck, 1977, p. 21). Terrorists apply the ancient Chinese proverb: "Kill one; frighten 10 million." Television has been a godsend to terrorists and probably bears. much of the responsibility for the modern escalation of terrorism [Alexander and Finger, 1977, pp. 270-282; Clatterbuck, 1977, p. 13).

Terrorism is most often used by groups with li~ted popular support but with sublime faith.in the rightness of their cause. They believe the opposition to be so wrong, evil, and illegitimate that any means are justified. Since terrorist groups believe that they have , the final truth and are working for the ultimate welfare of society,. they feel justified in killing or in holding hostages until their demands are met. Terrorists are, typically, educated young people of middle or upper-class backgrounds who see terrorism as a form of protest against social injustice [Margolin, -1977;Russell and Miller, 1978; Alexander and Gleason, 1981]. . In recent years 'terrorist groups have often, but not always, been successful in securing the release of those in custody for assassi nation, bombing and kidnapping. They have also raised large sums of money through robbery and ransomand operate on an international basis [Weeks, 1978; Buckley and Olson, 1980]. Terrorists have ended civil government in places such as Northern Ireland [Bell, 1981; Moxon-Browne, 1981]. They have also forced burdensome security practices in air transportation which inconvenience everyoneand add greatly to the expense of air travel [Ashwood, 1979]. Terrorists can have various goals: gaining world attention, destabilizing a government, promoting, revolution, vengeance. Palestine Liberation Organization terrorism was a means-possibly the only available meansof keeping the plight of the homeless Palestinians Before world attention [Alexander, 1976. A recent wave of killings by Armenian extremists appears to be a belated ·revenge for Turkish genocide against Armenians over a half century ago [Time, 118:38, Aug. 23, 1982J. Terrorism is rare in totalitarian countries, since the detailed control of daily life  makes it difficult for terrorists to move around or to collect the materials needed to operate. In democratic countries, terrorism is a weapon of the weak. If a group cannot gain  mass support through po)itical action, terrorism permits a tiny minority to focus attention upon its grievances. It has seldom overthrown a government or brought major shifts in government policy, but terrorism can provoke a democratic government into adopting police- state methods of control, and therein lies its greatest danger [Laqueur, 1976; Wilkinson, 1977; Bell, 1978]. There is also the grim possibility that terrorists may eventually controlnuclear weapons. If this ever happens, then a small group could hold the entire world hostage [Rosenbaum, 1978; Beres, 1979].

Posted on September 4, 2014 in Political Economic Institutions

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