Stellan Vinthagen

Professor, Endowed Chair in the Study of Nonviolent Direct Action & Civil Resistance, and Editor for the Journal of Resistance Studies

Stellan Vinthagen is professor of sociology and a scholar-activist. Vinthagen has a Ph.D. (2005) in Peace and Development Research from University of Gothenburg. He is the Inaugural Endowed Chair in the Study of Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Resistance and Director of the Resistance Studies Initiative at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is also researcher at Dept. of Social and Behavioural Studies, University West, and School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, where he is leading the Resistance Studies Program. Vinthagen researches resistance, power, social movements, nonviolent action and social change. He has written or edited eight books and numerous articles. Vinthagen is a Council Member of War Resisters International, and academic advisor to the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). Vinthagen has since 1980 been an educator, organizer and activist in several countries, and has participated in numerous nonviolent civil disobedience actions, for which he has served in total more than one year in prison. Vinthagen is one of the initiators of the European Plowshares movement; and, Academic Conference Blockades; and one of the founders of Ship to Gaza Sweden, a coalition member of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza. He lives in the Eco-Village Krossekärr, Sweden, and the Pioneer Valley Cohousing, Amherst, USA.


Ph.D., Peace and Development Research, University of Gothenburg, 2005

Research Areas

Resistance; Power; Social Movements; Nonviolent Action; Social Change

Current Grants

“Globalization of Resistance: Influences on Democracy Advocators in Civil Society in the South,” 2011–2015, 5 years (1,5 million USD), main applicant and program leader (with three senior researchers, which involves other collaborating researchers and PhD-students). Funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).

Selected Publications


2015. A Theory of Nonviolent Action: How Civil Resistance Works, ZED Books: London. (410 pages).

2013. Law, Resistance and Transformation: Social Movements and Legal Strategies in the Indian Narmada Struggle, with Håkan Gustafsson and Patrik Oskarsson. Department of Sociology of Law: Lund University. (196 pages.)

2011. Motståndets väg [Path of Resistance], with Pelle Strindlund. Karneval: Stockholm (344 pages).

Edited Books

2012. Tackling Trident: Academics in Action through Academic Conference Blockades.Main editor (co-editors: Justin Kenrick and Kelvin Mason). Irene Publishing: Ed (360 pages).

2009. Motstånd [Resistance], with Mona Lilja, Liber Förlag: Stockholm (347 pages).

Articles (Peer-reviewed journals)

2015. “Fighting with and against the Time: The Japanese Environmental Movement’s Queering of Time as Resistance,” with Mona Lilja and Mikael Baaz, Journal of Civil Society, Vol 11, Issue 4, pp. 408–423. DOI: 10.1080/17448689.2015.1112102

2015. “Decolonizing Civil Resistance,” with Sean Chabot, Mobilization: An International Quarterly, December 2015, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 517–532. DOI: 10.17813/1086-671X-20-4-517

2014. “Dimensions of Everyday Resistance: The Case of Palestinian Sumūd,” with Anna Johansson, Journal of Political Power, published online Feb 20. DOI: 10.1080/2158379X.2015.1010803

2014. “Dimensions of Everyday Resistance: An Analytical Framework,” with Anna Johansson, Critical Sociology, published online May 12.

2014. “Sovereign Power, Disciplinary Power and Biopower: Resisting What Power With What Resistance?” with M. Lilja, 34 pages, Journal of Political Power, 7:1, pp. 107–126.

2013. “‘Everyday Resistance’: Exploration of a Concept & its Theories,” with Anna Johansson, Resistance Studies Magazine, Issue 1: 2013, pp. 1–46.

2013. “Law on the Move — Reflections on Legal Change and Social Movements,” with Håkan Gustafsson. Retfærd: Nordisk Juridisk Tidskrift, nr. 2/141, 2013/2, vol. 36, pp. 23–59.

2013. “Exploring Irrational Resistance,” with Mona Lilja and Mikael Baaz, Journal of Political Power, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 201–217.

2013. “Ten Theses on Why We Need a Social Science Panel on Climate Change,” ACME, 12(1), pp. 155–176.

2013. “Legal Mobilization and Resistance Movements as Social Constituents of International Law,” Finnish Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 21 (2010), pp. 287–327.

2012. “Nonviolent Resistance and Culture,” with Majken Jul Sørensen, Peace & Change, Vol. 37, No. 3, July. pp. 444–470.

2011. “Framväxten av sociala rörelsers globala” [The Emergence of Social Movements’ Global Politics], Sociologisk Forskning, nr. 1: 2011, pp. 25–50.

2010. “Rättens rörelser och rörelsernas rätt” [The Movement of Law and The Law of Movements], with Håkan Gustafsson, Tidsskrift for Rettsvitenskap, vol. 123, 4 & 5/2010, pp. 637–693. ISSN 0040-7143.

2008. “Strategic Changes and Cultural Adaptations: Explaining Differential Outcomes in the International Plowshares Movement,” with Sharon Erickson Nepstad, University of Southern Maine, International Journal of Peace Studies, IPRA, Vol. 13, No. 1, Spring/summer, pp. 15–42.

2008. “Is the World Social Forum a Democratic Global Civil Society?Societies without Borders, (v.3, #1), Brill; and in Blau, Judith and Marina Karides, The World and US Social Forums: A Better World Is Possible and Necessary, Brill, Chapter 8, pp. 131–148.

2008. “Political Undergrounds: Raging Riots and Everyday Theft as Politics of Normality?Museion, University of Gothenburg and Museum pages.

2008. “Bortom civilisationens kontroll” [Beyond the Control of Civilization], Glänta, 4:07, Gothenburg, pp. 72–78.

2007. “Rethinking Nonviolent Action and Contentious Politics: Political Cultures of Nonviolent Opposition in the Indian Independence Movement and Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement,” with Sean Chabot, Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Elsevier Sciences/JAI Press, Oxford, Vol. 27, pp. 91–122.

2006. “Power as Subordination and Resistance as Disobedience: Nonviolent Movements and the Management of Power,” Asian Journal of Social Science, 34:1, pp. 1–21.

Book Chapters (research and/or educational publications)

2015. “The 4 Dimensions of Nonviolent Action: A Sociological Perspective,” pp. 258–288 in Kurt Schock (ed.) Civil Resistance: Comparative Perspectives on Nonviolent Struggle. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, Series on Social Movements, Protest & Contention.

2014. “Bortom myten – Gandhis idéer och praktik” [Beyond the Myth – Gandhi’s Ideas and Practice] in Gandhi, Mohandas K. Om ickevåld: Tal, artiklar och brev 1906–1948, M. K. Gandhi, Bokförlaget h:ström - Text & Kultur: Umeå, pp. 581–633.

2014. “Aktivismen för global rättvisa och mot marknadsdiktatur” [The Activism For Global Justice and Against Market Dictatorship], in Mats Friberg (ed.) Det hållbara samhället, Liber Förlag: Stockholm. (30 p.)

2010. “En ny sorts dilemma-aktion” [A New Form of Dilemma Action], in Mikael Löfgren (ed.) Ship to Gaza: Bakgrunden. Resan. Framtiden. Leopard Förlag: Stockholm, pp. 183–194.

2009. “Global Movements Facilitating Local Campaigns,” in Unarmed Resistance – The Transnational Factor, Clark, Howard & Rigby, Andrew (eds.), Pluto Press: London, pp. 184–190.

2009. “Power as Subordination and Resistance as Disobedience: Nonviolent Movements and the Management of Power,” in Giri, Ananta Kumar (ed.) The Modern Prince and the Modern Sage: Transforming Power and Freedom, SAGE India, pp. 161–183.