Civil Disobedience
Civil Disobedience
What is civil disobedience? Although Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King helped to bring the idea to prominence, even today it remains unclear how we should best understand civil disobedience. Why have so many different activists and intellectuals embraced it, and to what ends? Is civil disobedience still politically relevant in today's hyper-connected world? Does it make sense, for example, to describe Edward Snowden's actions, or those of recent global movements like Occupy, as falling under this rubric? If so, how must it adapt to respond to the challenges of digitalization and globalization and the rise of populist authoritarianism in the West?

In this elegantly written introductory text, William E. Scheuerman systematically analyzes the most important interpretations of civil disobedience.  Drawing out the striking differences separating religious, liberal, radical democratic, and anarchist views, he nonetheless shows that core commonalities remain. Against those who water down the idea of civil disobedience or view it as obsolescent, Scheuerman successfully salvages its central elements. The concept of civil disobedience, he argues, remains a pivotal tool for anyone hoping to bring about political and social change.
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  • March 2018
  • 216 pages
  • 140 x 219 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $67.50
  • 9781509518623
  • Paperback $23.75
  • 9781509518630
Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Divine Witness
  • Chapter Two: Liberalism and Its Limits
  • Chapter Three: Deepening Democracy
  • Chapter Four: Anarchist Uprising
  • Chapter Five: Postnationalization and Privatization
  • Chapter Six: Digitalization
  • Chapter Seven: Tilting at Windmills?
  • Conclusion
  • Endnotes
  • References
  • Index
About the Author
William E. Scheuerman is Professor in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University.
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"This is a timely, useful, and insightful book, which offers both an introduction to, but also a spirited defense of, civil disobedience and its central place in our political world. From Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. to Black Lives Matter, the book lays out the arguments for and against various conceptions of civil disobedience in clear and elegant prose." 
Simone Chambers, University of California, Irvine

"This timely and wide-ranging introduction is at once historically instructive, analytically clear and politically engaged. It will be of great use to large numbers of students and specialists in politics, law, and philosophy." 
Robin Celikates, University of Amsterdam

Civil Disobedience… is lucid and concise; it is readily accessible to readers who know little about the theory of civil disobedience, while illuminating and insightful for readers who know quite a lot.”
Political Theory

“William E. Scheuerman’s critical analysis of civil disobedience… arrives at an auspicious moment. It offers an excellent, systematic survey of the philosophical literature on civil disobedience, as well as a nuanced appraisal of the profound impact of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr on its theory and practice.”
Contemporary Political Theory

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