SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

SOPhiA ToolsDE-pageEN-page

Programme - Talk

Enacting the Social Contract: Civil Disobedience in Armenia
(Political Philosophy , )

In this article, I claim that the notion of constructive civil disobedience provides a better framework for explaining the Armenian Velvet Revolution of 2018 than the four main theoretical models of civil disobedience (liberal, democratic, religious-spiritual, anarchistic). First, I describe the Armenian political systems before and after Revolution, and I show that there were radical changes in political institutions as wel as sources of government legitimacy. Then I discuss the four main theoretical models of civil disobedience and show why they cannot adequately explain the Armenian case. The liberal model (John Rawls) cannot explain the Armenian case because it considers civil disobedience as a tool for non-radical transformations in newly just societies. The democratic model (Hannah Arendt and Jürgen Habermas) cannot fully explain the Armenian case because it sees civil disobedience only as a "democracy-enhancing" mechanism, not as "democracy establishing". The religious-spiritual model (Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King) cannot explain the Armenian case because religiousness and the concept of god play a crucial role in it. The anarchist model cannot explain the Armenian case because the Revolution did not aim to eliminate the state; it sought to replace the semi-authoritarian state with a democratic one. In the end, I present the notion of constructive civil disobedience. It considers civil disobedience not as a response to a breach of the social contract (as in the cases of liberal and democratic models) but as a mechanism for establishing or enacting the social contract. I show that enacting the social contract is what happened in Armenia in 2018.

Chair: Silvana Pani
Time: 10:00-10:30, 11 September 2021 (Saturday)
Location: SR 1.007
Remark: (Online Talk)

Hrayr Manukyan 
(University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

I have worked as an economic journalist for Armenian media and as a board member for an oppositional political party. Because of my political activity and sexual orientation, I had to escape Armenia. I received refugee status in the Netherlands. Currently, I am following a Research Master in Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. I have a Bachelor_s degree in Economics (from Armenian State Economic University), a Master_s degree in Journalism (from Georgian Institute of Public Affairs) and a Master_s degree in Political Science (from the University of Amsterdam).

Testability and Meaning deco