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Title: Political obligations in non-democracies : a natural duty account of the obligation to resist
Author: Sun, Jinyu
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Traditional discussions on political obligations revolve around the moral obligation to obey the law. Given this focus, these discussions pay more attention to democratic states, for it is commonly assumed that democracy is a necessary condition for a legitimate authority that has the right to citizens' obedience. These discussions thus neglect the situation in non-democratic states. My project aims to begin to fill in this lacuna. Drawing on Anna Stilz's natural duty theory of political obligations in democratic states, I argue that the natural duty of justice can also ground non-democratic citizens' political obligations, especially the obligation to resist injustice. Natural duty theories face the notorious 'particularity problem', according to which general natural duties alone cannot generate the special obligations owed to one's fellow citizens. Stilz responds to this challenge by appealing to the idea of collective action: democratic citizens are acting together in their own state and their obedience regularly affects the rights of their fellow citizens. Therefore, their pre-existing natural duty of justice binds them to continue to contribute to their own state. Building on this argument, I argue that in a non-democratic context, citizens are complicit in maintaining the non-democratic order. The natural duty of justice requires individuals to help the establishment of just and democratic institutions. Citizens' complicity makes resistance to injustice in their own non-democratic state especially relevant for them. In other words, complicity 'particularises' citizens' natural duty of justice and transforms it into special obligations, including the political obligation to resist injustice. It is also important to recognise the diversity of non-democratic regimes. Different regime characters may affect whether or not citizens have a political obligation to resist. Therefore, I also offer a regime-type-based analysis of citizens' political obligation to resist. I conclude that only citizens in hard-core authoritarian regimes do not have the obligation to resist.
Supervisor: Pasternak, A. ; Weale, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available