Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning are key figures in the struggles playing out in our democracies over internet use, state secrets, and mass surveillance in the age of terror. When not decried as traitors, they are seen as whistle-blowers whose crucial revelations are meant to denounce a problem or correct an injustice. Yet, for Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, they are much more than that. Snowden, Assange, and Manning are exemplars who have reinvented an art of revolt. Consciously or not, they have inaugurated a new form of political action and a new identity for the political subject.
Anonymity as practiced by WikiLeaks and the flight and requests for asylum of Snowden and Assange break with traditional forms of democratic protest. Yet we can hardly dismiss them as acts of cowardice. Rather, as Lagasnerie suggests, such solitary choices challenge us to question classic modes of collective action, calling old conceptions of the state and citizenship into question and inviting us to reformulate the language of critical philosophy. In the process, he pays homage to the actions and lives of these three figures.
About the author
Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, Professor at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts de Paris-Cergy, is a French philosopher and sociologist who has been called one of the most influential thinkers in contemporary French culture.
"This short, lucid book makes the case that the new security state's use of pervasive techniques of surveillance and data mining has engendered new forms of digital resistance. A manifesto of sorts, The Art of Revolt makes an argument friendly to specialists and non-specialists alike and offers a challenge for everyone concerned with today's new forms of political protest and alliance."
—Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley
"Geoffroy de Lagasnerie is arguably one of the most talented of the new wave of French theory. In this incisive and unflinching book, he compellingly exposes the hardened skin of the perverse forms of power that endanger our liberties in this age of mass surveillance."
—Achille Mbembe, author of The Critique of Black Reason
"The Art of Revolt offers a striking and radical new perspective on truth-tellers in the Internet age: how they leak, wield anonymity, and find asylum in ways that break radically with established practices to effect change. Lagasnerie brings ideas to the table that even I, an insider, had never considered. Whether you agree or disagree with the actions of his protagonists, this book is a must-read for grasping the significance and innovation of their work. Its compelling ideas will inspire all readers to reflect on how they can engage productively in the betterment of our societies."
—Sarah Harrison, Director of the Courage Foundation and WikiLeaks Associate
"Lagasnerie discusses Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning as developers of a new political art, a "different way of understanding what it means to resist"....This volume is of most interest to scholars of civil liberties and international communication....Recommended."
—W.C. Johnson, CHOICE
"Whether Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden are traitors or heroes is one of those 'debates' that is yet to be settled... Geoffroy de Lagasnerie's The Art of Revolt is not an account of these whistleblowers' deeds, but rather an interrogation of the categories and assumptions implicit in such questions."
—Dzmitry Tsapkou, Cultural Critique