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Title: Resistance to Structural Injustice and the Duties of the Oppressed
Authors: Ngo, Jade
Advisors: Stilz, Anna
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: duty to resist
structural injustice
victims' duties
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation makes three key contributions to the study of the ethics of resistance. First, it offers an expansive account of resistance to structural injustice that centers victims’ responses to that injustice. Specifically, it expands the definition of resistance to include victims’ exercises of agency under severely constrained conditions. Whereas existing accounts of resistance focus almost exclusively on paradigmatic offensive modes of resistance, I maintain that defensive responses such as self-help and internal resistance ought to be recognized as legitimate forms of resistance. Second, this dissertation argues that victims of structural injustice have not only prudent reasons to resist injustice, but duties to do so as responsible, self-respecting moral agents. These duties are grounded in both instrumental and intrinsic reasons. Instrumental reasons for the duty to resist include the special interest of the oppressed in eliminating structural injustice, as well as their potential epistemic privilege, which derives from their first-hand experience with injustice and therefore contributes to their ability to construct a new, just structure. Resistance is instrumentally important in that the participation of the oppressed in resistance efforts is crucial to the success of those efforts. Resistance is also intrinsically important because the oppressed have a duty to themselves to create conditions that are favorable to autonomy and self-respect. The duty to resist is intrinsically important in that resistance ought to be pursued regardless of the end-state of resistance. Finally, this dissertation provides normative guidelines for how victims of structural injustice can discharge their duties to resist under different background conditions, whether and when certain acts of resistance are permissible or required, and when victims are excused from discharging that duty.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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