working papers

Available upon request.

“Transformations of work and democratic decay”

Abstract: Democracies worldwide are under stress. Two distinct families of explanation can be identified by the relative emphasis they place on the cultural versus the economic. Protesting against this dichotomy, there are those who insist that economic and cultural grievances interact. A conceptual scheme which ties together the economic and the cultural through interaction, however, rests on a prior separation. In this article, a richer and more plausible account of the relationship between transformations of work and contemporary democratic decay is developed. This account is based on a social practice model of work, on which the economic and the cultural are entirely intertwined. The social practice of work is among other things a privileged site for the realisation of certain ‘goods of work’. These include self-respect, self-esteem, and self-realisation. It is by altering expectations about the realisation of the goods of work that transformations of work have contributed to an environment within which democracies are under stress.

“‘Post-work’ social citizenship”

Abstract: In acknowledgement of its manifold social pathologies, a growing number of scholars and activists are arguing for the need to ‘decentre’ work by breaking the connection between work and income. This would require guaranteeing universally a free-standing source of income to all. Suggestions along these lines, however, appear quite quickly to find themselves at an impasse. For a universal basic income (UBI) is commonly seen as an essential threat to the normative underpinnings of the politico-economic order that would be tasked with providing it, the welfare state. In this article, I attempt to assuage this worry about UBI. In doing so, I defend a particular version of UBI, one that combines universal basic income with reintroducing mandatory schemes of civic service. Contra widespread scepticism regarding the compatibility of UBI and the conception of justice undergirding our existing politico-economic order, I argue that this combination has the potential better to realise the deep normative underpinnings of the welfare state than our current regime.

“A right to break the law? On the political function and moral grounds of civil disobedience”

Abstract: Street protests are on the rise. In 2019 against climate inaction, in 2020 for racial justice. As some of these have been in deliberate non-compliance with the law, they demand a renewed theoretical engagement with civil disobedience as a form of political dissent. In this article I take up Joseph Raz’ famous arguments against the coherence of a moral right to civil disobedience. Essential to a right, according to Raz, is that it entitles one to do what one ought not to do. But civil disobedience, Raz argued, is legitimate only when it is right. Therefore, there cannot be a right to civil disobedience. His argument works, I argue, only given a fairly narrow conception of the purpose and function of civil disobedience. On other models, we can imagine legitimate performances of civil disobedience which nonetheless ought not to have been performed. On these accounts, there must be a moral right to civil disobedience. What model of civil disobedience we endorse thus has important consequences–exactly because it determines whether or not there is a right to civil disobedience. Defending the performance of civil disobedience as an exercise of a moral right has significant implications for how we understand those who engage in it, for how liberal democratic governments ought to treat them, and for how the dissenters should relate to the response from the authorities.