Anti-capitalism and poststructuralist
Social anarchism has a long reputation as a disparate and incoherent ideology.
Commentators, sympathetic and objective alike, have frequently accused social
anarchism of being too diverse to constitute a singular, recognisable ideology at
all (Chomsky, 1970; Miller, 1984; Ball and Dagger, 1991). To a degree this is true:
social anarchism is a loose and diverse ideology that may be too elusive for some
commentators to categorise neatly and clearly. However, other commentators,
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.
sociologist trying to understand the
authoritarian and ecologically damaging premises behind sociological theory. He
argues the case for an anarchist sociology which pays much more attention to how
social experience is researched, theorised and represented. Like Morland, he finds
poststructuralist literature a potentially useful tool for understanding power, particularly when theorising contemporary social movements.
The difficulties of doing anarchist theory is not lost on any of these authors,
particularly when their starting points are sometimes challenging. The
This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.
this idea, and suggest what ‘reopening’ might imply, I have to say a
bit more about political struggle.
I want to outline a theory of ‘open hegemony’, a notion of political
struggle that derives from liberal, Marxist and post-structuralist perspectives on society, without being reducible to any one of them. The two key
figures in this respect are Karl Popper and Antonio Gramsci.
Popper (1945) argued that only open societies could secure freedom
and peace within the post-war world. For a society to be open, it must
contain institutions and cultures that permit and
through the controversial discourses of postmodernism and
poststructuralism that anarchism has been referenced in the social and philosophical sciences, sometimes as an argument for relativism. However, this has
often taken the form of a commentary on the work of French poststructuralist
philosophers of the 1970s and 1980s rather than an engagement with the anarchist canon itself.
However, some poststructuralist writers are now beginning to explore the
relationship between their own premises and those of anarchism. As is discussed
below in more detail, the work of
, despite the evident emotional intensity of Beckett’s writing (or perhaps because of it),
post-structuralist Beckett criticism has often been characterised,
as Nicholas Allen observes, by ‘a longstanding insistence to read
Beckett in high abstraction’.23 However, the Beckett Estate’s relatively recent – and still incomplete – granting of scholarly access
to the ‘grey canon’ of Beckett’s manuscripts, notebooks and letters
has stimulated a resurgence of biographical, empirical and genetic
approaches to Beckett, approaches which nevertheless continue to
University Press, 1988) epitomises
the use of post-structuralist theory deplored by Hoff. For specific medievalists’
approach to the debate racking American scholars see S. Mosher Stuard, ‘The chase
after theory: considering medieval women’, Gender and History, 4 (1992), 135–46,
and also Speculum, 68: 2 (1993), in which all the articles implicitly engage in the
debates over the validity of post-structuralist and post-feminist approaches to the
study of history.
3 C. Walker Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to
Medieval Women (Berkeley CA
the major philosophical differences and strategies between the classical period (what he calls ‘social
anarchism’) and the contemporary anti-capitalist movements which he regards
as being poststructuralist in nature. John Moore (chapter 3) acknowledges these
epistemological differences in his argument that the often-overlooked figure of
Max Stirner can be useful for understanding the impact of power on the formation of the Self, as well as prefiguring poststructuralist and situationist perspectives on revolutionary language. It is through an assessment of Stirner
endorsement of existentialism (see Morland, 1997), her framing of the means
and ends of actions in this way is useful. It is also commensurate with poststructuralist theories of identity, which reject the liberal construction of the autonomous free rational agent as ‘natural’ and look to the social construction of the
subject by society. This critique is also central to Moore’s article on Max Stirner,
which also offers a ‘way out’ of this particular dualism.
As indicated in our introduction, Stirner’s controversial place in intellectual
history has recently