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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Comparative Politics

Isak Tranvik

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Isak Tranvik

Just and Unjust Resistance

Isak Tranvik is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science at Duke University. He holds a M.A. in Political Science from Duke University, a M.Ed. from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from St. Olaf College. He is interested in normative questions that arise in real-world democracies.

His dissertation introduces a theory of just resistance to explain and justify dissent in the non-ideal contexts. The “realist” account of resistance he develops explains when and why peaceful protests, civil disobedience, (coercive) nonviolent or violent resistance, and even violent revolution may be legitimate practices in partially legitimate or hybrid political communities. He argues that the pursuit of what Avashai Margalit calls “decency”, not necessarily unjust laws or liberal rights, can justify using escalating modes of sometimes coercive and even violent resistance against illegitimate state power. He uses this framework to evaluate resistance efforts in Hong Kong, Brazil, Venezuela, and the United States.