”Hope Dies – Action Begins”

Civil olydnad och fredlig direkt aktion inom svensk klimataktivism – exemplet Extinction Rebellion





Klimataktivism, Extinction Rebellion, Civil olydnad, Icke-våldsam, direkt aktion


The article explores the use of civil disobedience and non-violent direct action (NVDA) as a strategy and method in climate activism in Sweden, with a particular focus on the group Extinction Rebellion (XR). The article describes and analyzes a number of XR actions carried out in 2019-2022, with a focus on meaning-making practices. The uses of civil disobedience and NVDA are presented within a historical, cultural and social context; the question of the role and legitimacy of civil disobedience in democratic societies is discussed.

XR has civil disobedience and NVDA as central strategy and in this way the group has put these protest methods in focus, and after each major action there is a need to both explain and justify their use. This is more noticeable in a Swedish cultural context that is characterized by consensus and a stigmatization of disobedience. This relationship in turn affects the planning and execution of disobedient and disruptive protest actions in Sweden. The article explores how activists in XR Sweden relate to this specific cultural context and how they try to influence it; hence XR Sweden works not only to influence those in power and public opinion regarding the climate crisis, but also on the possibilities and forms of civil political protests.

The article is based on participant observation. These began in the spring of 2019 and are still ongoing. The study has an anthropological perspective, with an emphasis on semiotics and hermeneutics.


Leif Dahlberg, Kungliga tekniska högskolan

Professor i kommunikation
Kungliga tekniska högskolan, Stockholm


Ackerman, Peter & Jack DuVall. A Force More Powerful: A century of nonviolent conflict. Saint Martin’s Press, 2000.

Arendt, Hannah. ”Civil Disobedience” (1970). Crises of the Republic. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972, s. 49-102.

Bedau, Hugo. ”On Civil Disobedience”. The Journal of Philosophy, vol. 58, nr 21, 1961, s. 653-665.

Benjamin, Walter. ”Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit”. zweite Fassung, 1936. Walter Benjamin. Gesammelte Schriften. Band VII, red. R. Tiedemann & H. Schweppenhäuser, Suhrkamp, 1989, s. 350-384.

Berglund, Oscar & Daniel Schmidt. Extinction Rebellion and Climate Change Activism. Breaking the Law to Change the World. Palgrave, 2020.

Black, Virginia. ”Two Faces of Civil Disobedience”. Social Theory and Practice, vol. 1, nr. 1, 1970, s. 17-25.

Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action. University of California Press, 1966.

Cagle, Susie. ”’Protesters as terrorists’: growing number of states turn anti-pipeline activism into a crime”. The Guardian, 8 juli 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/08/wave-of-new-laws-aim-to-stifle-anti-pipeline-protests-activists-say . Besökt 1 april 2022.

Celikates, Robin. ”Democratizing civil disobedience”. Philosophy and Social Criticism, 42, 2016, s. 982-994.

Charney, Jule et al. ”Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment”, Report of an Ad Hoc Study Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate, National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C., 1979, https://www.bnl.gov/envsci/schwartz/charney_report1979.pdf. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Chenoweth, Erica. ”The Future of Nonviolent Resistance”, Journal of Democracy, vol. 31, nr. 3, 2020, s. 69-84.

Climate Emergency UK. https://www.climateemergency.uk/. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Cohen, Carl. ”Civil Disobedience and the Law”. Rutgers Law Review, vol. 21, nr 1, 1966, s. 1-17.

Couldry, Nick & James Curran. Contesting Media Power. Alternative Media in Networked World. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003.

Dahlberg, Leif. ”Any group that adheres to Extinction Rebellion’s demands and ten principles is permitted to do an action in its name.” Hermès. La Revue, 89, 2022, s. 179-183.

Debord, Guy. Rapport sur la construction des situations. 1957. Mille et une nuit, 2006.

Debord, Guy. La Société du spectacle. 1967. Gallimard, 1992.

Debord, Guy & Gil Wolman. ”Mode d’emploi du détournement”. Les Lèvres Nues, nr. 8, 1956, s. 2-8.

Delmas, Candice. A Duty to Resist. When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil. Oxford University Press, 2018.

Dworkin, Ronald. ”On Not Prosecuting Civil Disobedience”. The New York Review of Books, 6 juni, 1968, s. 14-21.

Dworkin, Ronald. ”A Theory of Civil Disobedience”. Ethics and Social Justice, red. H. Evans Kiefer & M. K. Munitz, State University of New York Press, 1970, s. 225-239.

European Parliament. ”The European Parliament declares climate emergency”, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20191121IPR67110/the-european- parliament-declares-climate-emergency. Besökt 1 April 2022.

”Extinction Rebellion: Jury acquits protesters despite judge’s direction”. BBC News, 21 april, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-56853979. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Extinction Rebellion Hannover. Hope dies – Action begins: Stimmen einer neuen Bewegung. transcript Verlag, 2019.

Extinction Rebellion Sverige. https://extinctionrebellion.se/. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Extinction Rebellion UK. https://extinctionrebellion.uk/. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Extinction Rebellion USA. https://extinctionrebellion.us/. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Fahlenbrach, Kathrin, Martin Klimke & Joachim Scharloth, redaktörer. Protest Cultures. A Companion. Berghahn, 2020.

Flores, Juan. ”Fyra anhållna aktivister släpptes på lördagen”. Dagens Nyheter, 9 april 2022, https://www.dn.se/sverige/fyra-anhallna-aktivister-slapptes-pa-lordagen/. Besökt 15 april 2022.

Fotaki, Marianna & Hamid Foroughi. ”Extinction Rebellion: Green activism and the fantasy of leaderlessness in a decentralized movement”. Leadership, vol. 18, nr. 2, 2022, s. 224-246.

Freeman, Harrop. ”The Right of Protest and Civil Disobedience”. Indiana Law Journal, vol. 41, nr. 2, 1966, s. 228-254

Geertz, Clifford. ”Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture”. The Interpretation of Cultures. Fontana, 1973, s. 3-30

Habermas, Jürgen. ”Ziviler Ungehorsam – Testfall für den demokratischen Rechtsstaat. Wider den autoritären Legalismus in der Bundesrepublik.” Ziviler Ungehorsam im Rechtsstaat, red. Peter Glotz. Suhrkamp, 1983, s. 79-99.

Halliday, Eric, & Rachael Hanna. State Anti-Protest Laws and Their Constitutional Implications”. Lawfare, 25 oktober, 2021, https://www.lawfareblog.com/state-anti-protest-laws-and-their-constitutional-implications . Besökt 1 april 2022.

Hansen, James. ”The Greenhouse Effect: Impacts on Current Global and Regional Heatwaves.”. Greenhouse Effect and Global Climate Change, Hearing before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. United States Senate, 23 juni, 1988, https://www.sealevel.info/1988_Hansen_Senate_Testimony.pdf. Besökt 1 april, 2022.

Hassan, Jennifer. ”U.K. seeks to expand police powers to target disruptive climate activists”. Washington Post, 16 oktober, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/10/16/britain-climate-activists-bill-police-powers/ . Besökt 1 januari 2023.

Hebert, Niels & Kerstin Jacobsson, ”Olydiga medborgare? Om flyktinggömmare och djurrättsaktivister.” Demokratiutredningens skrift, nr. 27 (SOU 1999:101), https://data.riksdagen.se/fil/4A940588-46C0-497A-A811-EC00C12E001F. Besökt 1 april, 2022.

Haines, Herbert. Black Radicals and the Civil Rights Mainstream, 1954-1970. University of Tennessee Press, 1988

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), https://www.ipcc.ch/. Besökt 1 April 2022.

Larsson, Ragnhild & Paxling, Björn, red. Tid för uppror. En berättelse om Extinction Rebellion. Vaktel förlag, 2022.

Ledewitz, Bruce. ”Perspectives on the Law of the American Sit-in.” Whittier Law Review, 16, 1995, s. 499-574.

Leggett, Jeremy. The Carbon War. Global Warming and the End of the Oil Era. Routledge, 2001.

LeGrande, J. L. ”Nonviolent Civil Disobedience and Police Enforcement Policy.” The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, vol. 58, nr. 3, 1967, s. 393-404.

Lyons, David. ”Moral Judgment, Historical Reality, and Civil Disobedience.” Philosophy & Public Affairs, vol. 27, nr. 1, 1998, s. 31-49.

McGarry, Aidan, et al., red. The Aesthetics of Global Protest. Visual Culture and Communication. Amsterdam University Press, 2020.

MacDonald, Gordon, et al. ”The long term impact of carbon dioxide on climate.” Technical report JSR-78-07 (1979), (The JASON Report), https://irp.fas.org/agency/dod/jason/co2.pdf. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Malm, Andreas. How to Blow Up a Pipeline. Verso, 2021.

Martin, Rex. ”Civil Disobedience.” Ethics, vol. 80, nr. 2, 1970, s. 123-139.

Mattoni, Alice. ”Alternative Media.” Protest Cultures. A Companion, red. K. Fahlenbrach et al. Berghahn, 2020, s. 221-227.

McNern, Ronan. ”One by One. A Media Strategy.” This is Not a Drill. Penguin, 2019.

Milligan, Tony. Civil Disobedience. Protest, Justification and the Law. Bloomsbury, 2013.

Morreall, John. ”The Justifiability of Violent Civil Disobedience.” Canadian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 6, nr. 1, 1976, s. 35-47, https://www.jstor.org/stable/40230600?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents Besökt 1 april 2022.

Murphy, Simon. ”Environmental protesters block access to Parliament Square.” The Guardian, 24 november 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/24/environmental-protesters-block-access-to-parliament-square-extinction-rebellion. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Ogien, Albert & Sandra Laugier. Pourquoi désobéir en démocratie? Ed. Découverte, 2010.

Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Harvard University Press, 1971.

Red Rebel Brigade. http://redrebelbrigade.com/. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Reed, T.V., The Art of Protest. Culture and Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the Present. Second edition. University of Minnesota Press, 2019.

Regeringsformen, https://lagen.nu/1974:152. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Scheuerman, William, redaktör. The Cambridge Companion to Civil Disobedience. Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Schmidt, Christopher. ”Divided by Law: The Sit-ins and the Role of the Courts in the Civil Rights Movement.” Law and History Review, vol. 33, nr. 1, 2015, s. 93-149.

Schwelb, Frank E. ”The Sit-in Demonstration: Criminal Trespass or Constitutional Right.” New York University Law Review, 36, 1961, s. 779-809.

Serhan, Yasmeen. ”’Not What You’d Expect in a Democracy.’ How Britain Is Waging War Against Climate Protesters”. Time, 16 december 16, 2022, https://time.com/6241372/uk-public-order-bill-climate-protests/ . Besökt 1 januari 2023.

Shabecoff, Philip. ”Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate”. The New York Times, 24 juni 1988, https://www.nytimes.com/1988/06/24/us/global-warming-has-begun-expert-tells-senate.html. Besökt 1 april, 2022.

Sharp, Gene. Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th century practice and 21st century potential. Porter Sargent Handbooks, 2004.

Star, Susan Leigh, & James R. Griesemer. ”Institutional Ecology, ’Translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39.” Social Studies of Science, vol. 19, nr. 3, 1989, s. 387-420.

Stephenson, Wen. What We’re Fighting for Now Is Each Other: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Climate Justice. Beacon Press, 2016.

SVT Nyheter. ”Här släpas miljöaktivisterna av vägbanan – limmade fast sig på Liljeholmsbron”. SVT Nyheter, 8 april, 2022, https://www.svt.se/nyheter/lokalt/stockholm/har-ar-miljoaktivisterna-som-stoppar-trafiken-i-stockholm-for-de-vill-radda-klimatet. Besökt 9 april 2022.

Taylor, Matthew. ”’We have a duty to act’: hundreds ready to go to jail over climate crisis.” The Guardian, 26 oktober 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/26/we-have-a-duty-to-act-hundreds-ready-to-go-to-jail-over-climate-crisis. Besökt 1 April 2022.

Taylor, Matthew & Damien Gayle. ”Dozens arrested after climate protest blocks five London bridges.” The Guardian, 17 november, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/17/thousands-gather-to-block-london-bridges-in-climate-rebellion. Besökt 1 April 2022.

Taylor, Matthew & Damien Gayle. ”Thousands block roads in Extinction Rebellion protests across London.” The Guardian, 15 april 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/15/thousands-expected-in-london-for-extinction-rebellion-protest. Besökt 1 April 2022.

”Tyre Extinguishers”. http://www.tyreextinguishers.com/. Besökt 1 april 2022.

”UK Parliament declares climate change emergency.” BBC News, 1 maj 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-48126677. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Vinthagen, Stellan. Motståndets sociologi. Irene Publising, 2016.

Watts, Jonathan. ”Extinction Rebellion goes global in run-up to week of international civil disobedience.” The Guardian, 10 december 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/10/extinction-rebellion-goes-global-international-civil-disobedience-climate-talks-poland. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Wolodarski, Karin Grundberg. ”Familjen Lundin säljer anrika Bukowskis.” Dagens industri, 11 januari, 2022, https://www.di.se/nyheter/familjen-lundin-saljer-anrika-bukowskis/. Besökt 1 april 2022.

Zelko, Frank. Make it a Green Peace! The Rise of Counterculture Environmantalism. Oxford University Press, 2013.





Dahlberg, L. (2023). ”Hope Dies – Action Begins”: Civil olydnad och fredlig direkt aktion inom svensk klimataktivism – exemplet Extinction Rebellion. K&K - Kultur Og Klasse, 51(134-135), 129–158. https://doi.org/10.7146/kok.v51i134-135.137182