This book attempts to convey the different sociological contexts for how contemporary anarchist theory and practice is to be understood. It concentrates on the issue of broadening the parameters of how anarchist theory and practice is conceptualized. The book compares the major philosophical differences and strategies between the classical period (what Dave Morland calls 'social anarchism') and the contemporary anti-capitalist movements which he regards as being poststructuralist in nature. It also documents the emergence of the now highly influential anti-technological and anti-civilisational strand in anarchist thought. This offers something of a challenge to anarchism as a political philosophy of the Enlightenment, as well as to other contemporary versions of ecological anarchism and, to some extent, anarcho-communism. The book further provides a snapshot of a number of debates and critical positions which inform contemporary anarchist practice. The specific areas covered offer unique perspectives on sexuality, education, addiction and mental health aspects of socialisation and how this can be challenged at a number of different levels. The fact that anarchism has largely premised its critique on a psychological dimension to power relations, not just a material one, has been an advantage in this respect. Ecological anarchism, which has been the driving force behind much contemporary anarchist theory and practice, has been committed to thinking about the relationships between people and 'nature' in new ways.
. Ecologicalanarchism, which has been
the driving force behind much contemporary anarchist theory and practice, has
been committed to thinking about the relationships between people and ‘nature’
in new ways and this is evident in the chapters by Karen Goaman (chapter 9) and
Bronislaw Szerszynski and Emma Tomalin (chapter 11).
In recent years, the political perspective of anarcho-primitivism has gained
considerable appeal and notoriety for taking anarchist theory into areas of
anthropology and trying to ask challenging questions about the nature of ‘civilisation’ by
-technological and anti-civilisational
strand in anarchist thought. This offers something of a challenge to anarchism as
a political philosophy of the Enlightenment, as well as to other contemporary versions of ecologicalanarchism and, to some extent, anarcho-communism. Millett,
like Moore, identifies a psychological and psychoanalytic dimension to understanding authority, alienation and history, which is a powerful and still underacknowledged aspect of contemporary anarchism. Purkis addresses similar issues
in his chapter, but from the perspective of the