Search results

7 Social capital in anarchist movements Those who build walls are their own prisoners. I’m going to go fulfill my proper function in the social organism. I’m going to go unbuild walls. (Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed) Social capital and Bourdieu “Anarchists of the world … unite!” This tongue-in-cheek joke reflects the commonly held belief that anarchists do not work well with others. Most people assume that anarchists are extreme individualists, unwilling to compromise, or collaborate in groups (i.e., every person is “an island,” completely independent of

in Black flags and social movements
A sociological analysis of movement anarchism

The black flag means negation, anger, outrage, mourning, beauty, hope, and the fostering and sheltering of new forms of human life and relationship on and with the earth. This book aims to destroy many of the assumptions and stereotypes about anarchism, anarchists, and anarchist movements. It introduces Mario Diani's definition of a social movement: networks of individuals and organizations, united by some shared identity, that engage in extra-institutional action with the interest of changing society. Social movements must be composed of individuals. The book provides new insights into individual participants in anarchist movements by investigating what the micro-level characteristics of contemporary anarchists are, and how these characteristics differ from those of anarchists in past movements. The anarchist movement can be interrogated from many vantage points (especially macro- and meso-analyses), in both longitudinal and cross-sectional contexts. The book explores the usefulness (or lack thereof) of social movement theories for understanding anarchist movements. It challenges the assumption that the state is a strategic location of opportunity from the perspective of radical, anti-state movements. The essential dimensions of "new social movement" (NSM) theories are discussed, with highlights on the differences between the contemporary anarchist movement and other NSMs. The book also explores ideas from major social capital theorists, and considers the value of social capital. Whereas most sociological research on anti-authoritarian diffusion and isomorphism has focused on mainstream organizations or reformist social movements, anarchist movements pose a particular challenge to the earlier findings focused on the non-anarchists.

Abstract only
Revisiting the epistemology of anarchist movements

9 Conclusion: Revisiting the epistemology of anarchist movements Universities have consistently overlooked anarchism. Despite some remarkable but scattered studies in various fields, academics have never tried to form a school of thought based on anarchist paradigms … Most research on anarchism – and the best – is done outside academia. (Ronald Creagh) In summary So, what have the previous chapters demonstrated? First, despite subtle, contrarian grumbling, anarchist movements really are social movements. Anarchist movements meet every requirement of every

in Black flags and social movements
Anarchism as a unique example

1 Introduction to social movements: anarchism as a unique example The purpose of my life all has been focused on: helping everyone to have a spring, so that everyone’s heart will be bright, everyone will have a happy life, and everyone will have the freedom to develop in any way they want. (李尧棠 [Ba Jin])1 Today’s anarchist movements are not brand new, neither are they simple replicas or resurrections of old anarchist movements. They are reasonable – if not always predictable – descendants of previous anarchist movement iterations. While new in many of their foci

in Black flags and social movements
A micro-structural analysis

2 Anarchists as individuals: a micro-structural analysis How can a rational being be ennobled by anything that is not obtained by its own exertions? (Mary Wollstonecraft)1 Anarchists are people – but what kinds of people? Social movements must be composed of individuals. But what kinds of individuals? Anarchist movements are so called not only because of who they involve, but also in spite of those individuals’ characteristics. Key concerns for movement scholars are how participants identify socially and politically, what the movements’ class composition are

in Black flags and social movements

4 The significance of social movement theory to anarchism Revolutions are brought about by those who think as people of action and act as people of thought. (Emma Goldman) What is social movement theory? Even though anarchism is itself a social theory, anarchism has been underutilized by sociologists developing sociological theories (Williams 2014). Likewise, anarchist movements – themselves the social application and embodiment of anarchist theories – have not been interpreted via sociological social movement theories. Of course, activist theorizing happens

in Black flags and social movements

“success” for revolutionary movements that “move forward” – yet do not achieve revolutionary transformation (indeed, who conceive a final, complete transformation to be theoretically impossible) – seems to be a problem faced uniquely by anarchist movements. Instead, thinking of opportunity as global, non-politically based, and unattached to “ultimate objectives” like revolution, help to make these ideas more useful for understanding anarchist mobilization. Anarchists have never been able to rid society of the state, although not for lack of trying. Anarchism, as a

in Black flags and social movements

6 Anarchism as a “new social movement”? The conception of society just sketched, and the tendency which is its dynamic expression, have always existed in mankind, in opposition to the governing hierarchic conception and tendency – now the one and now the other taking the upper hand at different periods of history. (Peter Kropotkin) The new? Few sociological perspectives excel at summarizing the character of current anarchist movements, with the exception of those grouped under the moniker of “new social movement” (NSM) theories. This chapter presents the

in Black flags and social movements

coordinates among large numbers of self-identified anarchists, seems impossible. This chapter addresses how such coordination is possible, by focusing on antiauthoritarian approaches to the spreading of anarchist ideas and organizational strategies. I apply research on diffusion and institutional isomorphism to the organizational forms and tactics often chosen by contemporary anarchist movements. In particular, I investigate a number of organizational templates that have spread globally in recent decades, which are not only replete with active anarchist participation, but

in Black flags and social movements

-Malthusianism and the ‘quality/quantity’ debate While discussions on humanity’s class-restricted access to the ‘banquet of life’ had been rehearsed in the Spanish movement from the end of the nineteenth century, and the struggle for existence as a concept had been largely rejected in various libertarian forums as a bourgeois obfuscation to dispossess the working class, it was only in the last years of the nineteenth and the early twentieth century that anarchist movements began to fuse their interest in the family, free love, health matters and the population debate under the

in Anarchism and eugenics