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Virtual nonviolence? Civil disobedience and political violence in the information age

Andrew Calabrese (Associate Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA)


ISSN: 1463-6697

Article publication date: 1 October 2004



Nonviolent civil disobedience is a vital and protected form of political communication in modern constitutional democracies. Reviews the idea of both demonstrating its continued relevance, and providing a basis for considering its uses as an information‐age strategy of radical activism. The novelty of the forms of speech and action possible in cyberspace make it difficult to compare these new methods of expression easily. Whether in cyberspace or the real world, civil disobedience has historically specific connotations that should be sustained because the concept has special relevance to the political theory and practice of constitutional democracy. Civil disobedience is a unique means of political expression that is used to provoke democratic deliberation about important questions of just law and policy. Among the significant problems that new forms of radical political practice in cyberspace introduce is that their practitioners and advocates neglect the need to distinguish between violence and nonviolence. Examines that problem and others that are central to considering theoretical and political implications of radical activism in general, and civil disobedience in particular, in cyberspace.



Calabrese, A. (2004), "Virtual nonviolence? Civil disobedience and political violence in the information age", info, Vol. 6 No. 5, pp. 326-338.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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