The Rebellion Hypothesis: Extinction Rebellion and Civil Disobedience (Part VII of Eco Civilisation)

April 22, 2022

Can civil disobedience ever be justified in a democracy? How does Extinction Rebellion relate to other social movements in history that have also practiced civil disobedience to advance social progress? In this presentation Dr Samuel Alexander examines these questions and presents an analysis he calls the ‘rebellion hypothesis’.

This is Part VII of the Ecological Civilisation series.

00:00 – Introduction

00:47 – Review of ecovillages

04:37 – Review of the land barrier

06:43 –The Rebellion Hypothesis

30:42 – Examining Civil Disobedience

37:50 – XR and civil disobedience

45:10 – Conclusion

The introduction to this series is available here:…

The series is grappling with the problems of consumerism and the growth economy; envisioning alternative, post-carbon ways of life; and considering what action can be taken, both personally and politically, to help build an ecological civilisation.

New presentations will be added to this playlist over time:

You can support this channel by purchasing an e-book from the Simplicity Institute, available on a ‘pay what you can’ basis (edit the price as you choose for a donation):

In the link above there is a book on Extinction Rebellion.

Paperbacks are available here:…

Samuel Alexander’s work is available here:

The Simplicity Institute website is here:

Thanks to Andrew Doodson, Jordan Osmond, and Antoinette Wilson for offering invaluable production advice.

The opening image is kindly provided by Melissa Davis.

Further image references are available here:…

The music is provided by Mortimer’s Method:


Teaser photo credit: This Civilisation is Finished bookcover

Samuel Alexander

Over the last ten years Dr Samuel Alexander has been a lecturer and researcher at the University of Melbourne, Australia, teaching a course called ‘Consumerism and the Growth Economy: Critical Interdisciplinary Perspectives’ as part of the Master of Environment. He has also been a Research Fellow with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and is currently co-Director of the Simplicity Institute. Alexander’s interdisciplinary research focuses on degrowth, permaculture, voluntary simplicity, ‘grassroots’ theories of transition, and the relationship between culture and political economy. His current research is exploring the aesthetics of degrowth and energy descent futures. His books include Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary (2019, co-authored with Brendan Gleeson); Carbon Civilisation and the Energy Descent Future (2018, co-authored with Josh Floyd); Art Against Empire: Toward an Aesthetics of Degrowth (2017); Just Enough is Plenty: Thoreau’s Alternative Economics (2016); Deface the Currency: The Lost Dialogues of Diogenes (2016); Prosperous Descent: Crisis as Opportunity in an Age of Limits (2015); Sufficiency Economy: Enough, for Everyone, Forever (2015); and Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation (2013); he is also editor of Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture (2009) and co-editor of Simple Living in History: Pioneers of the Deep Future (2014). In 2016 he also released a documentary called A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity, co-produced with Jordan Osmond of Happen Films. Alexander blogs at

Tags: civil disobedience, Extinction Rebellion, social movements