Confrontational Citizenship

Reflections on Hatred, Rage, Revolution, and Revolt

By William W. Sokoloff

Subjects: Political Theory, Critical Theory, Democracy, Politics, Social Problems
Series: SUNY series in New Political Science
Paperback : 9781438467825, 258 pages, July 2018
Hardcover : 9781438467818, 258 pages, December 2017

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Table of contents


Introduction: Anger, Hatred, and Rage in Dark Times

1. In Defense of Hatred

2. Immanuel Kant on Thinking without the Constraint of Rules

3. Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Rage

4. W. E.B. Du Bois on Revolt as a Way of Life

5. Hannah Arendt on Putting the Political Back into Politics

6. Gloria Anzaldúa Singing the Song of Herself

7. Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Revolt

Conclusion: The Right of Resistance


Defends confrontational modes of citizenship as a means to reinvigorate democratic participation and regime accountability.


A growing number of people are enraged about the quality and direction of public life, despise politicians, and are desperate for real political change. How can the contemporary neoliberal global political order be challenged and rebuilt in an egalitarian and humanitarian manner? What type of political agency and new political institutions are needed for this? In order to answer these questions, Confrontational Citizenship draws on a broad base of perspectives to articulate the concept of confrontational citizenship. William W. Sokoloff defends extra-institutional and confrontational modes of political activity along with new ways of conceiving political institutions as a way to create political orders accountable to the people. In contrast to many forms of democratic theory, Sokoloff argues that confrontational modes of citizenship (e. g., protest) are good because they increase the accountability of a regime to the people, increase the legitimacy of regimes, lead to improvements in a political order, and serve as a means to vent frustration. The goal is to make the word citizen relevant and dangerous to the settled and closed practices that structure our political world and to provide a hopeful vision of what it means to be politically progressive today.

William W. Sokoloff is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley.


"…[Sokoloff] gives scholars familiar with political theory another way to think about familiar figures and pushes them to expand the canon of the political tradition … In Confrontational Citizenship, Sokoloff has provided a worthy theoretical starting point for activists, scholars, and others who long for a more just political and economic order. " — H-Net Reviews (H-Socialisms)