The Disobedient Society

We live in a time where obedience is considered a relic of the past. We tend to see ourselves as free agents who can voluntarily enter our personal relationships, family arrangements—and jobs—without being bound to them for life or subject to someone else’s authority.

The labor contract that we all enter in order to earn a living is essentially an agreement of obedience in exchange for wages. But as psychologist Stanley Milgram—the instigator of the famous “electric shock” experiments—discovered in the 1960s, obedience relies on free will. What neoliberalism has done is to camouflage obedience by reifying the labour contract as an undisputed part of the world.

In The Disobedient Society, Mat Little investigates the historical evolution of obedience, how increasing material abundance threatens the labour contract, and what a disobedient society might look like.

Table of contents:


Obedience to Authority in the Era of Neoliberalism

The Evolutionary Mystification of Obedience

The “Free” Labourer and the Eclipse of Scarcity

The Disobedient Society