Anarchism and agency

Bates, D. (2016) Anarchism and agency. In: Anarchist Studies Network 4th International Conference, 14th-16th September, 2016, Loughborough University, UK.

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Michael Freeden (1996; 2003) has argued that ideologies can be differentiated into core and peripheral concepts. For Marxists, class conflict would be a core concept; the Marxist who rejects all formulations of this idea ceases to be a Marxist. For anarchists, it is more of a challenge to identify such core concepts (see Bates, 2017, forthcoming). For, anarchism as an ideology is necessarily difficult to characterise. We might argue that there is no so much an ideological identity called ‘anarchism’ as there are many ‘anarchisms’. Moreover, the various expressions of anarchism have been constituted in a context of opposition. One such context is the historical opposition between anarchism and Marxist communism – the main focus of this chapter. Another is the opposition between the various historical formations of anarchism itself – considered practically and philosophically. Consequently, anarchist ideas of agency - to use a term of Quentin Skinner (1968) - have always had an illocutionary dimension - that is, they were developed (not always intentionally) as a performative political response to their contexts of articulation – this makes it at best exceptionally difficult to provide a positive definition of agency from an anarchist point of view. The latter part of this paper will suggest that in the work of thinkers such as Hardt and Negri, there is an extent to which we can start to rethink agency beyond its anarchist (and Marxist) horizons.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology
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Depositing User: Dr David Bates
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2016 10:47
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2016 10:51

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00