From the protests in Tiananmen Square to the fall of the Berlin Wall, to the anti-G8 and anti-WTO demonstrations, the global era is distinguished by disobedience, which has taken central stage after a lengthy stretch of silence. This book offers a systematic review of the ways in which disobedience has been conceptualized, supported, and criticized throughout the history of Western political thought. The path followed by the author goes from Antigone to contemporary hackers, documents the appearance of the term in the political lexicon, explains its many manifestations, and shows how its semantic wealth goes well beyond the "liberal" interpretations with which it has been identified, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. Disobedience is not merely a moderate alternative to revolution and rebellion, but rather a different way of perceiving radical politics, based on avoidance and defection vis--vis the established order.
Raffaele Laudani has held teaching posts at the University of Parma and Columbia University in New York; he currently has a research scholarship at the University of Bologna.