Civil Disobedience in Philosophy and Comics

Elisabeth Holzleithner, Christian Demmelbauer

Civil disobedience is an illegal form of resistance that is directed against laws and policies identified as exceedingly unjust. At its core, civil disobedience is communicative: it aims to draw attention to a neglected topic and to motivate political actors to initiate sustainable change. In recent years, its practice has been revived, not least in climate activism. This has also led to the rejuvenation of philosophical debates. The chapter starts by sketching diverse philosophical approaches that lay the foundation for civil disobedience’s legitimation. We then examine a particular form of communicative practice: comics telling stories of civil disobedience. Comics easily intertwine entertainment with education and a call to action. In this vein, the late Congressman and legendary civil rights activist John Lewis published a tripartite graphic memoir, March, to reach a new generation. In our analysis, we reconstruct two storylines: an action narrative and an institution narrative. Using this distinction, we go on to analyze comic strips of climate activism from The Most Important Comic Book on Earth. In both discussions, we explore what lessons may be drawn from the comics for the philosophical debate on civil disobedience and how philosophical theory helps to critically reflect on the narratives presented in the comics. We thus bring theory and storytelling into dialogue with each other.

Institut für Rechtsphilosophie, Forschungsplattform GAIN - Gender: Ambivalent In_Visibilities, Forschungszentrum Religion and Transformation
ÖFOS 2012
603117 Rechtsphilosophie, 505011 Menschenrechte
Link zum Portal