Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2005 Ivan Boothe. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Peace & Conflict Studies Department

First Advisor

Lee A. Smithey


This study investigates the emerging field of third-party nonviolent intervention, in which activists who are not involved in a particular conflict enter into that conflict to support and empower local individuals and movements in struggles for social change, justice and democracy. Utilizing theoretical developments in the nature of power, the structure of social movements and the role of advocacy, interventionists have the potential to aid indigenous social movements in achieving their aims without dictating to them the paths the movement should take. This is only possible if interventionists commit to an explicit and unequivocal training in their own rank and privilege, learning ways to employ that rank without reinforcing hegemonic oppression and structural racism. The author argues that a variety of techniques are available in different situations, but that interventionists must specifically strategize about their ideological role in the context of local movements. The question of how close they wish to align themselves to principles of solidarity, movements for democracy or even individual struggles will have a significant impact on the types of techniques available and the methods and effectiveness of their deployment. Ultimately, third-party intervention could mark a break from a hierarchical, didactic and oppressive history of intervention to a new epoch of solidarity and empowerment. This can only be accomplished, however, through ongoing reflection and analysis, a praxis combining on-the-ground implementation of training techniques and intervention, and continual and critical scrutiny with the input of the individuals and movements for whom this approach is intended to benefit.


Nonviolence, Social justice, Social change