Research on the relationship between nonviolent and violent dissent has focused on explicit shifts in organized strategies, disregarding less-organized forms of violence such as riots. Even though disorganized violence is common, we know little about how it influences the onset and fate of antigovernment nonviolent campaigns. Activists frequently argue that nonviolent discipline is essential and disorganized violence is counterproductive for effective large-scale mobilization. However, others emphasize how disorganized violence could have a mobilizing effect on large-scale protest and revitalize a nonviolent campaign. We detail these competing perspectives on how riots can influence the onset and outcomes of nonviolent campaigns. We then evaluate these contending claims empirically by examining how riots affect the initial emergence of nonviolent campaigns and the likelihood that campaigns will terminate. We find that nonviolent mobilization is less likely to emerge after riots, and ongoing campaigns are more likely to collapse under higher rates of rioting.

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