The Technology of Nonviolence
Social Media and Violence Prevention
How technology and community organizing can combine to help prevent violence, with examples from Chicago to Sri Lanka.
Tunisian and Egyptian protestors famously made use of social media to rally supporters and disseminate information as the “Arab Spring” began to unfold in 2010. Less well known, but with just as much potential to bring about social change, are ongoing local efforts to use social media and other forms of technology to prevent deadly outbreaks of violence. In The Technology of Nonviolence, Joseph Bock describes and documents technology-enhanced efforts to stop violence before it happens in Africa, Asia, and the United States.
Once peacekeeping was the purview of international observers, but today local citizens take violence prevention into their own hands. These local approaches often involve technology—including the use of digital mapping, crowdsourcing, and mathematical pattern recognition to identify likely locations of violence—but, as Bock shows, technological advances are of little value unless they are used by a trained cadre of community organizers.
After covering general concepts in violence prevention and describing technological approaches to tracking conflict and cooperation, Bock offers five case studies that range from “low-tech” interventions to prevent ethnic and religious violence in Ahmedebad, India, to an anti-gang initiative in Chicago that uses Second Life to train its “violence interrupters.” There is solid evidence of success, Bock concludes, but there is much to be discovered, developed, and, most important, implemented.
Hardcover$34.00 X ISBN: 9780262017626 312 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 12 figures, 3 tables
[The Technology of Nonviolence] will be an engaging and informative read for any global-development professional and for any other reader who longs for a more peaceful world.
Keeping a firm focus on actual violence-prone localities, this book gently takes us along a variety of early warning and response systems, weaving in actionable theory as well as the latest technological prospects. It stands out for its accessibility, view of the affected communities as actors, and ability to engage the reader. Highly recommended to decision-makers and practitioners for its insights into set-up options and its quality to inspire action research.
former director of the Early Warning for Violence Prevention project, Foundation for Tolerance International, Kyrgyzstan
Joseph Bock takes the concept of civilian passivity in violent conflict and flips it on its head. He shows us that spontaneous, ambient, community data can be a force for stability, even as social media empowers revolution and social change. This important work shows us the future of collective intelligence even in the most unstable settings.
Director, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
This book represents the best definitive overview of dizzying new developments in disciplines that seek to leverage new media, ICT, and big data for conflict early warning and peace and conflict transformation. Joseph Bock offers an insider's perspective on developments and debates in this rapidly changing area of inquiry, weaving a tapestry held together by clarifying concepts and animated by vivid case studies. I will be assigning this timely book to my undergraduates in courses as diverse as Peace, Justice and Human Rights; Crisis Mapping, New Media & Politics; and International Security Affairs.
Co-Founder & Co-Curator of the International Network of Crisis Mappers