This chapter makes a case for the enduring persistence of the political contractual concept of friendship and its key place in early modern political and legal thought. The concept of political friendship was rearticulated in theories of the internal arrangement of and relations between political communities. This casts a new light on the political and social order at the dawn of the sovereign state and modern international regimes. Renaissance and early modern discourses on the law of nations and nature offer a distinct and clear range of reference for the concept. Contributions from various philosophical and juridical traditions overlap in linking friendship to ideas of contracted agreement, an 'international treaty' open to classification and specific duties that a contract obliges parties to pay. These ideas contain further implications for political equality and inequality, spatial order and territorial integrity.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The 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 conceptualised. The question of individual liberty and collective needs raises an equally important anarchist principle: equating the means of an action with its ends. The book compares the major philosophical differences and strategies between the classical period and the contemporary anti-capitalist movements. It assesses the viability of libertarian education, a century on from the life and work of Spanish writer and activist Francisco Ferrer and finds considerable evidence for the endurance of these ideals.
This chapter illustrates the importance of broadening the understanding of social anarchism. Social anarchism has shifted its ground as it has embraced some elements of poststructuralist philosophy. This shift in territory from social to poststructuralist anarchism is most noticeable and particularly important at two levels of theory. The first, and the one that underscores the others, is the poststructuralist denunciation of foundationalist discourses or narratives. The second shift in theoretical territory is less pronounced but nonetheless real. The chapter suggests that, when situated alongside the practices of new social movements associated with the anticapitalist protests, the poststructuralist perspective affords insight into how new modes of anarchist practice are emerging. It also highlights how anarchist theory and practice is evolving into something distinct and is, at the same time, nurturing contemporary modes of resistance against traditional social, political and economic forms of oppression.