Valeria Schwarz
Justified Responses 2017

Reseach about Civil Disobedience presented as a fictional story

Justified Responses is a speculative fictional story based on real acts of civil disobedience that took place between 1999-2008. The story takes place in a near future, in which state surveillance made any idea of resistance appear impossible. Through the discovery of de-classified official documents created and shared under opaque conditions, the main character finds out what civil disobedience is and starts thinking of it as a tool for change. This fictional research aimed to present civil disobedience in its complexity and to show the asymmetrical power differences in the public debate, hegemonic discourses, and ideological self-conceptions. Furthermore, it intended to show civil disobedience as being carried out not by heroes or radical outlaws, but by “regular” citizens, who one day reached the invisible line between witnessing the injustice around them and reacting to it.

The fictional frame in which I presented my research allowed me to include other aspects of the activist’s lives and expand on how their compromise forced them to make difficult decisions in their private life. I was able to depict their selflessness and unconditional love towards nature, oppressed people or freedom, for instance. At the same time, I could also show with other characters that indifference, not engaging in political issues as well as not resisting them also meant that sensitive concessions were being made in the intimate sphere, like the restrictions on speech or different forms of self-censorship.