The ethics of academic boycott

Avner De Shalit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article asks whether an academic boycott is morally justified. It does not relate to the question whether academia and politics should be mixed. Instead, relying on the case study of the debate surrounding the academic boycott of Israeli academia by British, and later American academics, the article analyzes the various arguments applying analytical political philosophy tools. Broadly speaking two families of arguments-consequentialist and deontological-are found. Consequentialist arguments rely on three psychological, sociological, and political assumptions that are false and make them counterproductive (bearing in mind the overall goal declared by the boycott promoters). Despite some initial appeal, the deontological arguments also fail, at least to a certain extent, to justify the boycott. Finally I discuss what I call "selective boycotting.".

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)642-652
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2016


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