Categories of Nonviolent Tactics

Below is a chart created to visualize the categorization system built in order to illustrate the universe of nonviolent methods. Click on blue text to find more information about that category! 


Penalty/Confrontational (coercive) Reward/Constructive (persuasive)


(Acts of Expression)


Communicative actions to criticize or coerce (example: a march)


Communicative actions to reward or persuade (example: a teach-in)

Not Doing

(Acts of Omission)


Refusal to engage in expected behavior by acts of omission (examples: strikes and boycotts)


Halting or calling off a planned or ongoing action to reward or persuade (example: suspending a strike)

Doing and Creating

(Acts of Commission)

Disruptive intervention

Direct action that confronts another party to stop, disrupt, or change their behavior (example: a blockade)

Creative intervention

Direct action that models or constructs alternative behaviors and institutions or takes over existing institutions (examples: a parallel government or invasion)


Here is the full list of categories and subcategories:

  • Saying (Acts of Expression) (coercive and persuasive)
    • Medium of Human Person
      • Movements and Gestures
      • Processions
      • Public Assemblies
      • Rituals and Traditions
      • Honoring the Dead
      • Performance
      • Withdrawal and Renunciation
      • Pressures on Individuals
    • Medium of Things
      • Sound/Music
      • 2-D Dimensional arts and materials
      • 3-D Dimensional arts and materials
    • Medium of Electronic Communication
      • Recording and distributing news of NVA
      • Crowdsourcing Information
      • Creating online digital content
      • False, imaginary information
      • Mass action
    • Medium of Human Language
  • Not Doing (Acts of Omission)
    • Noncooperation (coercive)
      • Social Noncooperation
        • Ostracism of Persons
        • Noncooperation with Social Events, Customs, and Institutions
        • Withdrawal from the Social System
      • Economic Noncooperation: Boycotts
        • Actions by Consumers
        • Action by Workers and Producers
        • Action by Middlemen
        • Action by Owners and Management
        • Action by Holders of Financial Resources
        • Action by Governments
      • Economic Noncooperation: Strikes
        • Symbolic Strikes
        • Agricultural Strikes
        • Strikes by Special Groups
        • Ordinary Industrial Strikes
        • Restricted Strikes
        • Multi-industry strikes
        • Combination of strikes and economic closures
      • Political Noncooperation
        • Rejection of Authority
        • Citizens' Noncooperation with Government
        • Citizens' Alternatives to Obedience
        • Action by Government Personnel
        • Domestic Governmental Action
        • International Governmental Action
    • Refraining (persuasive)
  • Doing and Creating (Acts of Commission)
    • Disruptive Intervention (coercive)
      • Psychological Intervention
      • Physical Intervention
      • Social Intervention
      • Economic Intervention
      • Political Intervention
    • Creative Intervention (persuasive)
      • Psychological Actions
      • Physical Actions
      • Social Actions
      • Economic Actions
      • Political/Legal Actions


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