Gavin Baillie


Research title: Environmental activism and the limits civil disobedience: the case of Extinction Rebellion

Research Summary

Title: Environmental activism and the limits of civil disobedience: the case of Extinction Rebellion.

My research aspires to offer a re-articulation of civil disobedience beyond the liberal paradigm that frames the theory in a fidelity to the rule of law. To achieve a recovery of the theory of civil disobedience I will propose a corrective to the liberal theorisation via the case of Extinction Rebellion. Initially, by testing its capacity to frame and express what is at stake for the disobedient. Then by introducing the term ‘unconcealment’ with a view to recover what is routinely lost and forgotten by it. I seek to recast civil disobedience, as hinted at by Bertrand Russell, as a mode of communication that ‘unconceals’ new horizons of possibility. I will do so across disciplines of radical political action, theatre theory and audience engagement, and a phenomenological account of our relationship to the earth. I pursue a comparison between Heidegger’s ‘inauthentic Dasein’ / ‘authentic Dasein’, Rancière’s ‘consensus’ / ‘dissensus’, and Brecht’s ‘Operatic Theatre’ / ‘Epic Theatre’ dichotomies as each theorists’ articulation of both a prevailing common sense that conceals and a disruptive ‘unconcealment’ of alternative possibilities.


Baillie, Gavin (2021) ‘Unconcealing’ the stage: from concealment to Extinction Rebellion. LL.M(R) thesis, University of Glasgow, ‘Unconcealing’ the stage: from concealment to Extinction Rebellion - Enlighten: Theses (