Politics is about finding ways to live together despite disagreeing about exactly how we should live together.
We all have visions of how our societies should be – more striving, entrepreneurial and ready to celebrate and reward success, or perhaps contrastingly, with more solidarity and with a helping hand for those for whom things don’t work out quite as they’d hoped.
When political decisions are taken then, some people, perhaps many, will disagree with them. They may feel they have been treated wrongly or unjustly. How do and should they express that disagreement? How should the state manage the protests and forms of resistance they may turn to?
Dr Robert Jubb’s current research focuses on these issues. Political protest can take many different forms, from quietly respectful civil disobedience like that of parts of the civil rights movement in the US in the 1950s and 60s to violent attempts to overthrow the state familiar from revolutions and coups.
Given the range of ways in which those aggrieved with their regime may resist it, how is it appropriate for them to do so? Should outsiders support them, or is political protest typically a domestic matter, best left to the societies experiencing it?
Dr Jubb is working on a monograph he hopes will provide a new account of how to understand and assess why, when and how dissatisfied citizens turn to political protest.
Some of the work in that book is foreshadowed in an article he has recently published in Political Studies, which argues that only by reconsidering when and in what ways governments are legitimate can we understand when protest, in all its many forms, is appropriate.