There is a common tendency to categorize as civil disobedience acts of resistance that one approves of, even when the acts in question violate common marks of civility. This chapter proposes a different strategy, namely, to think about uncivil disobedience—to wit, principled lawbreaking that is covert, evasive, violent, or offensive. The first section explains the problems with the two main approaches to civil disobedience and sketches a basic conceptual account of uncivil disobedience. The rest of the chapter seeks to justify at least some forms of uncivil disobedience even in supposedly legitimate, liberal democratic states like ours. The second section argues that uncivil disobedience can do much of what civil disobedience does, while the third section argues that uncivil disobedience can do and say valuable things that civil disobedience cannot do or say. In particular, it identifies the potential value of incivility for subordinated members in democratic societies allegedly committed to mutual reciprocity.
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