On Radical Genealogies of Civil Disobedience: Remarks on Bárbara Nascimento De Lima’s ‘Civil Disobedience: A Dispute of Concepts’

(Des)troços 4 (1), 2023, pp. 1-8.

9 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2023

Date Written: July 27, 2023

Abstract

In “Civil Disobedience: A Dispute of Concepts” (2023), Bárbara Nascimento de Lima makes a compelling contribution to the radical democratic approach to civil disobedience by mapping “selective appropriations” of the concept. Telling a genealogical story of these appropriations that spans the supposed origin of civil disobedience in the work of Henry David Thoreau to its embrace by American philosophers in the 1960s and 1970s, Nascimento de Lima highlights the reoccurring domestication of the concept and seeks to reclaim a more radical understanding of it, one capable of making sense of contemporary forms of radical politics. Through critical engagement with Nascimento de Lima’s paper, I show that radical attempts to overturn the genealogical narrative of civil disobedience offered by liberal theorists continue to adopt reductive tendencies that erase the complex political resources within the tradition of civil disobedience. Doing so, such radical readings of civil disobedience unquestioningly accept the tendency within the romanticized liberal narrative of civil disobedience of thinking about its theorists as either radical or non-radical instead of opposing not only its conclusions but also the reductive way it distorts the complex history of such figures and their theorizing.

Note: Copyright (c) 2023 Eraldo Souza dos Santos

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Keywords: Civil Disobedience; Resistance; Radical Disobedience; Liberalism

Suggested Citation

Souza dos Santos, Eraldo, On Radical Genealogies of Civil Disobedience: Remarks on Bárbara Nascimento De Lima’s ‘Civil Disobedience: A Dispute of Concepts’ (July 27, 2023). (Des)troços 4 (1), 2023, pp. 1-8. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4522448

Eraldo Souza dos Santos (Contact Author)

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne ( email )

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