"Movement Schools and Dialogical Diffusion of Nonviolent Praxis: Nashville Workshops in the Southern Civil Rights Movement" discusses the adoption, adaptation, application, and diffusion of Gandhian nonviolence theory and tactics throughout Black Nashville movement spaces in the Civil Rights era. The authors analyze how different diffusion methods spread nonviolent theory/tactics from hubs of Gandhian teaching throughout the larger Black Nashville communities.
The authors particularly discuss the models of dialogical diffusion of nonviolence in Civil Rights era Nashville through examining the workshops/schools, collective information-sharing and movement struggle, flexibility of key activists/teachers, and relationship-building that were core to building a large-scale Gandhi-inspired social movement.
In the article, James M. Lawson Jr. and his workshops are discussed at length as an example of dialogical diffusion of nonviolent praxis into the Black Civil Rights era movement spaces. His teaching approach blended Gandhian theory with the Black Christian heritage, thus successfully making the theory and tactics relatable and applicable to a wide audience of Southern Black Nashvillians (college students and church attenders are of particular note).
Lawson held space for students to grapple with and debate his ideas and ultimately relate to his teachings through a deeply personal/relatable lens, thus supporting a dialogical approach to the diffusion of his teachings. These teachings were then diffused by his students, who helped launch organizations and local racial justice campaigns, such as sit-ins and boycotts.