Duty to disobey? : a perspective on the new civil disobedience, between international actors and digital media

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Repetto, Elettra
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The aim of this thesis is to analyse the concept of civil disobedience and to give a justification for it, to finally assess whether or not it is possible to claim there is a duty to disobey. The initial focus will be on the definition of the concept of civil disobedience itself, to move then to the actors involved, from social movements, to non governmental organisations, and power holders, and show how the nation-state is not the only entity that counts in the political sphere, nowadays. I will then question the idea of a non-violent civil disobedience, to include violence in the definition of it, maintaining however the difference with revolution. Afterwards, I will consider the concept of responsibility and the reasons of the dissenters, before turning to Internet as the new space where new actors, such as Anonymous and the whistle-blowers, make a more pluralistic politics. So, I will justify civil disobedience on the basis of democracy as an inclusive system, and on the respect that the institutions should have for our moral agency. I will consequently derive from this the idea that dissenters should be punished in a more clement way than common criminals. Finally, I will conclude by arguing that, under certain circumstances, we might have a duty to disrespect the law. I will base this claim on the fact that, to be full individuals, we have to be political individuals, ready to act.
Second semester University: University College Dublin - National University of Ireland
civil disobedience, internet, media, NGOs, social movements, social networks