Nonviolence and Media Studies


should be addressed to the author at Department of Media Studies, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117; email:


This article proposes a meeting of media studies and the philosophy of nonviolence in order to better critique the tendency in popular media discourses about war and international conflict to naturalize violence as an eternal and essential human trait. Nonviolence exposes certain foundational myths about violence in the media; namely, the myths that violence is cultural (as implied in the “clash of civilizations” thesis), historical, or natural. However, this is possible only if nonviolence is retrieved from its present marginalization as a mere technique for political activism or personal behavior and understood more accurately as a coherent, universal, practical worldview that can inform a critical engagement with media discourses of violence. Using Gandhi's writings on nonviolence, this essay aims to initiate such an understanding, particularly in connection with existing critical approaches to media violence, such as cultivation research and cultural studies, and concludes by proposing a set of concrete questions for media research based on nonviolence.