Cavell dans Cycnos


Cycnos | Volume 28 n° Spécial

Contre-usages, désobéissances actives et mouvements de l’intolérable. De la pratique du refus à la volonté de ne pas être gouverné

The aim of this article is to analyse some of the most important contemporary practices of refusal that take place in the field of “politics”, and to (re)inscribe them in the long tradition of civil disobedience. Firstly, we will consider civil disobedience in its “classical” form, defining it as the refusal to obey to one or some laws that govern citizens. We will sketch the five major characteristics of this “classical” form of civil disobedience on the basis of Henry David Thoreau’s famous essay Resistance to Civil Government (1849). Secondly, we will study two specific but displaced figures that civil disobedience takes in our times – namely, the struggles of migrants in Italy and Greece during the year 2010 and the fights of the English ecologist group Climate Camp. In so doing, we will highlight the principal transformations of civil disobedience through the study of three innovative axes that we denominate “counter-uses”, “active disobediences” and “movements of the intolerable”. Our conclusion will be that, in order to understand these contemporary political practices of refusal, we must recognize in the disobedient subject an active “supplement” to the simple act of subtraction from power made in the name of a civil responsibility.

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