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The Virtues of ExitOn Resistance and Quitting Politics$
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Jennet Kirkpatrick

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635392

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635392.001.0001

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Resistant Exits

Resistant Exits

Political Exiles

(p.90) 4 Resistant Exits
The Virtues of Exit

Jennet Kirkpatrick

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores a dilemma faced by some political activists operating in constrained political contexts. Should they stay or should they go? In authoritarian contexts, remaining in the country of origin can carry serious risks—including torture, incarceration, and death. Leaving, on the other hand, may be seen as cowardly, self-interested, or an abandonment of political obligations to the cause of opposition. This chapter looks at contemporary political exiles who have negotiated this dilemma in an innovative way by continuing their opposition from abroad. It illuminates resistant exits in a contemporary political contexts and looks more closely at the a complicated set of relationships between self-interest and political concern for others. It argues that it can be difficult to discern a sharp demarcation between acting selfishly and behaving selflessly for these activists. The connection between the two is tangled, one in which self-interested concerns lie atop and underneath more selfless political and moral obligations.

Keywords:   Self interest, Political exiles, Selflessness, Authoritarianism, Political oppression, Resistance movements

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