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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.

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. 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 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

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

keep people around for longer; thus, a static movement that exclusively emphasizes militant street protest is unwise, as it will exclude people with reduced physical capacities, whether due to ability or age. Taken together, these strategies suggest methods for reinvigorating social capital, especially for anarchist movements. The remainder of this chapter focuses on a number of issues and questions pertaining to trust. First, how did classic age anarchists speak of and write about social trust? What do contemporary anarchists do that consciously bonds and bridges

in Black flags and social movements
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Why anarchism still matters

of chaos, complexity and emergence to help understand cause and effect in the social and natural worlds and the self-organising and yet unpredictable patterns that influence all life on earth. The title of this book, Changing anarchism, attempts to convey the different sociological contexts for how contemporary anarchist theory and practice is to be understood. On the one hand, the contents epitomise many of the conceptual and practical concerns of this particular era, marking the changes in theories of power and offering strategies of resistance. Whilst we do not

in Changing anarchism

modern anarchist movements. First, using the Anarchist Yellow Pages (AYP) directory and the International Blacklist (IBL), I offer a systematic description of the types of organizations that comprise the contemporary anarchist movement, as well as its international geographic patterns. I argue here that the best existing resource available to researchers is the AYP, which listed over 2,000 organizations in its 2005 edition. I provide an initial descriptive and analytical account of the geographic clustering of types of anarchist organizations. Using these data, we can

in Black flags and social movements

essential dimensions of these theories (Sutton & Vertigans 2006), paying close attention to how each dimension may be applied. I interrogate examples and characteristics drawn from present-day anarchist movements – including ideology, organizations, and strategy – with the NSM framework. Although not totally identical, it will be clear that modern anarchism greatly exemplifies the ideal typology created by NSM theories. Finally, I delineate differences between the contemporary anarchist movement and other NSMs. Anarchism suggests the need to modify and extend the NSM

in Black flags and social movements

social movement organizations (SMOs) as the unit of analysis. The focus of these questions include beliefs, organization, causes, membership, strategies, reactions, and effects. I will re-state each of Lofland’s questions and then provide a general answer for contemporary anarchist movements. First, what are the beliefs of SMOs? Since, SMOs are organized around some sort of beliefs, morals, and assumptions, what are these for anarchist movements? Surely at the core of anarchism is the belief that the state, capitalism, and other institutions of domination are bad. The

in Black flags and social movements
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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

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