Disaggregating Political Authority: What's Wrong with Rawlsian Civil Disobedience

Political Studies (forthcoming)

Robert Jubb
University of Reading
John Rawls is a central figure in contemporary philosophical and theoretical discussions of civil disobedience, which hope to contribute to significant political debates around when and in which forms political dissent, protest and resistance are appropriate. Ignoring the frame in which Rawls discusses civil disobedience has led critics to wrongly attack his theory for being too restrictive when it is more likely to be too permissive. That permissiveness depends on treating any political order which does not come close to fulfilling his theory of justice as absolutely illegitimate. In this sense, Rawls’ theory of political authority is binary and demanding. The problems his theory shares with most others, including his critics’, show that political authority needs to be disaggregated to make sense of the conditions under which different forms of protest and resistance are appropriate.
Keywords Rawls  Civil Disobedience  Political Authority  Protest  Resistance
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Why Not Uncivil Disobedience?William E. Scheuerman - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-20.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Rawls e a Desobediência civil.Julio Tomé - 2018 - Dissertation, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC)
Civil Disobedience.Candice Delmas - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (11):681-691.
Civil Disobedience and Conscientious Objection.Maeve Cooke & Danielle Petherbridge - 2016 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (10):953-957.
Rawls and Gandhi on Civil Disobedience.Vinit Haksar - 1976 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 19 (1-4):151 – 192.
The Interpretation of Political Action: The Case of Civil Disobedience.A. Lawton - 1988 - Dissertation, University of Leicester (United Kingdom)
Civil Obedience and Disobedience.Maeve Cooke - 2016 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (10):995-1003.
Introduction: Law and Disobedience.Peter Jones - 2004 - Res Publica 10 (4):319-336.
Democracy, Deliberation and Disobedience.William Smith - 2004 - Res Publica 10 (4):353-377.
Is Ecosabotage Civil Disobedience?Jennifer Welchman - 2001 - Philosophy and Geography 4 (1):97 – 107.
Cyber Disobedience: When is Hacktivism Civil Disobedience?Brian J. Huschle - 2002 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 16 (1):69-83.
Civil Disobedience and Its Ethical Meaning.Karolina Rozmarynowska - 2016 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 64 (2):63-77.


Added to PP index

Total views
90 ( #98,222 of 2,291,328 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
41 ( #21,814 of 2,291,328 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature