Political studiesSecurity studies

Violence and civil disobedience


Fitzmaurice, Joseph
Discussion of civil disobedience is dominated by the position that for civil disobedience to be permissible it must be nonviolent. I have provided an argument for the justification of violence in acts of civil disobedience. In order to make this argument I forward an assessment of what I believe successful acts of civil disobedience should do. Following this I give an analysis of violence, highlighting the variety of acts falling under this concept. From this analysis I argue that violence can be physical, psychological or targeting property. As well as this violence can be measured along two dimensions: severity and proportionality. Such an analysis of violence is lacking in much of the anti-violent civil disobedience literature. My defence begins by responding to the two main positions against violent acts of civil disobedience. I identify these arguments as the moral and practical arguments against violent civil disobedience. I complete my argument for the permissibility of violent civil disobedience by arguing that each form of violence may be justified under specific circumstances. This is achieved through an application of the concept violence and by forwarding theoretical and actual examples of legitimate civil disobedience for destruction of property, coercion and self-defence.

SAKHRI Mohamed

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