Enacting the Social Contract: Civil Disobedience in Armenia


What initially began as a small march in one of Armenia’s regions on March 31, 2018, quickly became a large-scale civil disobedience movement which ultimately led to the resignation of the prime minister on April 23 and to the election (by parliament) of the leader of the movement as prime minister on May 7. At the peak of the movement (which is usually referred to as the Armenian Velvet Revolution), the whole country was literally paralyzed.
This research project provides a detailed case study of the Armenian Velvet Revolution and links it to current theoretical debates about civil disobedience. The project aims to establish that the Armenian campaign, which turned authoritarian Armenia into a democratic country, has a deeper significance than the dominant theoretical models of civil disobedience are able to grasp. Civil disobedience in Armenia was the act of free and equal individuals entering into a social contract and forming a sovereign government. However, none of the four main theoretical models of civil disobedience (the religious-spiritual, the liberal, the democratic, and the anarchist model) explicitly sees civil disobedience as the act of entering into a social contract. In addition to testing these models in relation to the Armenian case, this project suggests a substantial modification in the theory of civil disobedience based on this and other cases of civil disobedience in authoritarian states that are turned into democratic ones. Finally, the project provides a classification of civil disobedience movements beyond the liberal context philosophical studies usually focus on.





Dr. R. Celikates

Verbonden aan

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Departement Wijsbegeerte


H. Manukyan


01/02/2019 tot 31/10/2019