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Anarchist theory and practice in a global age

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.

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this section each address notions of being and becoming within different areas of anarchist theory and practice. Indeed, it is the ontological dimension of contemporary anarchism – especially the placing of Self within a wider ecology of global relations, human and non-human – which distinguishes anarchism from radical perspectives that retain too much focus on materialism and political economy. 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

in Changing anarchism

anticapitalist protests, the poststructuralist perspective affords insight into how new modes of anarchist practice are emerging. Bookchin attempted to delineate this debate in Social anarchism or lifestyle anarchism: an unbridgeable chasm (1995) thus denouncing postmodernism or lifestyle anarchism. Unsurprisingly, Bookchin’s analysis is not accepted universally within anarchist circles, and a trenchant critique of that work may be found in Bob Black’s Anarchy after Leftism (1997). In focusing on the relationship between social anarchism and poststructuralist anarchism, it is

in Changing anarchism
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Why anarchism still matters

touchstone to explore matters that are becoming increasingly central to anarchist theory and practice. We live in an era where the politics of information are formulated and contested in a myriad of real and virtual locations and media, and where ascertaining influence, apportioning blame, conceptualising and co-ordinating strategy has become an almost impossible business. Who knows what the impacts and influence of Paddick’s remarks have been on the wider milieu? The resurgence of interest in anarchism, which has been steadily percolating through often quite different

in Changing anarchism
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Stirner, anarchy, subjectivity and the art of living

existential and ontological concern and one rich in implication for the definition of contemporary anarchist practice, activity and projects. Central to this process is the issue of anarchist subjectivity and intersubjectivity, as well as related concerns about language and creativity. Hakim Bey, language and ontological anarchy Hakim Bey’s essay ‘Ontological anarchy in a nutshell’ (1994) provides a concise but landmark formulation of this issue. The opening passage of the essay focuses on the existential status of the anarchist and anarchist practice: Since absolutely

in Changing anarchism
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Part 1I Doing The following four chapters provide a snapshot of a number of debates and critical positions which inform contemporary anarchist practice. The specific areas covered offer unique perspectives on aspects of socialisation – sexuality, education, addiction and mental health – and how this can be challenged at a number of different levels. Each of the contributors comes from a specialist professional or activist background (rather than an established academic one), and to varying degrees the chapters bear out points made in Part I, ‘Thinking’ regarding

in Changing anarchism

10 David Gribble Good news for Francisco Ferrer – how anarchist ideals in education have survived around the world1 Introduction This chapter discusses the educational ideas of Francisco Ferrer, as expressed in his book The origin and ideals of the Modern School (1913) and compares these ideas with actual practice in anarchist schools early in the twentieth century. I suggest that a parallel movement grew up during the last century in the progressive or democratic schools which was in many ways closer in spirit to Ferrer than these early anarchist schools

in Changing anarchism

‘universal truths’ of dualism were imposed upon local knowledges through Western imperialism), sociology and queer theory (e.g., Seidman 1996, 1997). It is essential that anarchism also take into account criticisms of dualism. This has been taken up in certain respects, for example, the anarchist critique of the work/play division (e.g., Bowen, 1997). Here I suggest we should understand anarchism as Sexuality/identity/politics 103 a theory and practice that promotes the development of non-hierarchical social organisation. Hierarchy does not exist only in the public

in Changing anarchism
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Rethinking anarchist strategies

explicitly or implicitly practised, it is necessary to consider the potential for influence in areas other than those which anarchists are naturally prepared to consider. This necessitates a greater flexibility about notions of inclusion and community as well as a preparedness to take part in networks or broad-based coalitions. 118 Part II Doing What is ‘the anarchist project’? Any discussion of anarchist strategies must begin with the worldview of its principal protagonists. Given the historical diversity of anarchist theory and practice, whether in terms of its

in Changing anarchism
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How anarchism still matters

, inclusive one. This must be based upon an adaptability at seeing anarchist theory and practice as something that engages with as many areas of society and culture as is practically possible, rather than existing only as a marginalised and somewhat élitist political force. In order to arrive at this conclusion, we review the different ways that anarchism can be seen in terms of its often under-acknowledged role in political change. In particular, we suggest that anarchism can serve as a ‘conscience’ to many non-anarchist or marginally anarchist milieus in terms of the

in Changing anarchism