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Book Launch – Responsible Citizens, Irresponsible States by Avia Pasternak (UCL)

7 December 2021, 5:00 PM7:00 PM GMT


Tuesday 7 December 2021
5 pm

Due to popular demand, this book launch will now be run as a hybrid event so that people can attend online. Zoom registration:

The event will feature a summary of the book by Dr Avia Pasternak (UCL) with responses from
  • Professor Jeff King (UCL)
  • Professor David Miller (Oxford)
Zoom registration here.
In-person registration (places limited) here.

About the book:

States are often asked to pay compensation for their unjust wars, historical wrongs and international crimes. But when they turn to pay for their wrongdoings, it is the citizens who end up paying the price, even if they protested against the state’s policies, did not know about them, or had little political influence. So why should citizens pay for their state’s wrongdoings? Responsible Citizens, Irresponsible Statesdevelops an answer to this question. It argues that citizenship can be a type of massive collective action, where citizens willingly take part in their state, and where state policies are the product of this collective action. While most ordinary citizens are not to blame for their participation in their state, they nevertheless ought to accept a share of the remedial obligations that flow from their state’s wrongful policies. But the book also shows that this is not true for all states. In some non-democratic states most citizens are not participating and should not pay for their state’s wrongdoings. The book’s findings call for a revision of the way we hold states responsible at the domestic and international levels.


Avia Pasternak is Associate Professor in Political Theory in the Department of Political Science at UCL. She works on questions of collective responsibility and political obligation.
Jeff King is Professor of Law in the Faculty of Laws at UCL. He works on comparative public law, international law, constitutional theory and socio-legal studies.\
David Miller is Professor of Political Theory at Nuffield College, Oxford. He has written on national identity, responsibility, self-determination, immigration, and territorial rights.
The event will be chaired by Jeff Howard (UCL); please contact him with queries.


UCL Institute for Law, Politics and Philosophy (ILPP)
View Organiser Website


UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
20 Bedford Way
London, WC1H 0AL United Kingdom
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