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Civil Disobedience: (Un)Common Sense in Mass Democracies by Lawrence Quill

By Lawrence Quill

What function may civil disobedience play within the politics of consultant democracies as strength 'leaks' from the country country? If conventional politics has surrendered to the pursuits of worldwide organisations what are the implications? Quill proposes a reappraisal of civil disobedience and civil obedience so that it will tackle those and different questions.

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The legal directives that enshrined equality in the law, the modern mass democracy that had emerged in the nineteenth century coupled with astonishing developments in technology including railroads and the telegraph, together with the development of public finance associated with the creation of professional standing armies all contributed to the creation of a decidedly new political environment (1946, pp. 13 Developments in military organization, civilian institutions in the public and private sphere, and the growth of private enterprise emerged at the same time and had a profound effect on one another and the nature of government.

Yet it is in Lysistrata of all the ‘Peace’ plays that we find Obedience: Ancient and Modern 31 both recognition (on the part of the men who are denied their ‘conjugal rights’ which forces them to realize where their ‘real’ interests lie) and another exploration of the opposition between the male qualities of order and discipline and the female qualities of disobedience. The women of Athens and neighboring Sparta are disenfranchised members of the political community, their particular form of disobedience an expression of those outside of state institutions who had no ready means to reshape the system.

There is no man can bear this guilt but I…I am nothing. Lead me away…I know not where to turn…’ With no family left, the power of his office provides little solace. If Tragedy was unafraid to challenge social convention and the question of divided loyalties as a form of catharsis, then Comedy (from komos meaning banquet, revel, or riot) did so through anagnorisis or recognition of the dilemma. 3 In The Archanians, social conventions are turned upside down as the hero of the piece opts out of battle while the other citizens follow the call to arms.

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