Reports about Practical Projects #8
Reports about Practical Projects #8
„Reports about Practical Projects“ are written by doctoral researchers who have designed and carried out a practical project in cooperation with a non-university organization. The BGHS has been supporting these projects with scholarships since 2020. In the eighth part of the series, Md. Moynul Haque reports on his core activity in the framework of a discussion session titled “Nonviolent Civil Resistance: Insights from Bangladesh and Beyond” that he carried out in a non-university organization called Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e.V. (forumZFD).
Over the past few decades or so, unarmed people’s contentious mobilization on the streets has become a frequent incidence in many parts of the world. There has been a remarkable rise in the civilian’s uses of nonviolent strategies including sit-ins, slogans, demonstrations, singing, graffiti, art, and media-mediated activism. The dawn of the twenty-first century has witnessed unarmed insurrections, including the Arab Spring phenomena in 2010 in North Africa and the Middle East region and the Occupy movement in the US in 2011. Meanwhile, in the subsequent years, the People Power Movements surged across Europe and Central Asia, notably among the Indignados movement in Spain in 2011, the Gezi Park protests in Turkey in 2013, and the Euromaidan protest in Ukraine which started in 2013. The Shahbag movement of 2013 in Bangladesh represents one of the biggest protests of this kind in South Asia.
Scholars have shown greater interest in studying political violence in South Asia. Moreover, Bangladesh is often portrayed as a country characterized by inter-party violence, rivalry, and political confrontation. The over-reliance on a violent perspective essentially provides a one-sided explanation of Bangladesh’s state-society interaction. It undermines the power of nonviolence which has been regarded as one of the major forces to bring about social and political change across the world.
Drawing from my ongoing doctoral research on civil resistance, I ventured to explore different perspectives, mainly coming from non-academic tradition, on civil resistance cases in order to make sense of how or to what extent theoretical understanding of civil resistance intersects with practical views. To reach this goal, I held a discussion session in the framework of the core task of my practical project with a non-university organization called Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e.V. (forumZFD) located in Cologne, Germany. It was founded in 1996 by voluntary peace and human rights groups with a vision of promoting peace worldwide. The Academy for Conflict Transformation is a learning space of forumZFD that offers training, lectures, and workshops on peace and conflict-related topics.
My project was integrated into the regular program called “X-changes“: a discussion event for the alumni members of the forumZfD. The participants of this session came with practical insights into the areas of nonviolence for social justice, rights, and freedom.
Figure 1: The emblem of forumZfD and its series "X-change"
From the practical point of view, the project was intended to make sense of how the notion of civil resistance is articulated in the thoughts and practices of the non-academic community. The broader objective was to facilitate a dialogue between a PhD researcher and peace practitioners in answering some of the critical questions of civil resistance at this current juncture.
The discussion of this X-change started with sharing the researcher’s current topic, briefly navigating the known and unknown facts of civil resistance in a relatively under-researched country – Bangladesh. After this, the X-change invited other participants to shed light on their country-specific experience of civil resistance. As such the X-change event turned out to be a resource point for knowing both known and unknown cases of civil resistance, capturing the viewpoint of both the researcher and practitioners.
Click here for ForumZfD.
Further information about the Non-University Careers Project can be found on the .