Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more ➡
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Add note
Save to My Library
Sync to mobile
Look up keyword
Like this
3Activity
×
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Reanimating Anarchist Geographies

Reanimating Anarchist Geographies

Ratings: (0)|Views: 367|Likes:
Reanimating Anarchist Geographies: A New Burst of Colour

Simon Springer, Anthony Ince, Jenny Pickerill, Gavin Brown & Adam J. Barker
Reanimating Anarchist Geographies: A New Burst of Colour

Simon Springer, Anthony Ince, Jenny Pickerill, Gavin Brown & Adam J. Barker

More info:

Published by: Radical Geography Weekly on Oct 17, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See More
See less

12/19/2012

pdf

text

original

 
ReanimatingAnarchistGeographies:A New Burst of Colour 
Simon Springer
Department of Geography, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada;simonspringer@gmail.com
Anthony Ince
School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK 
Jenny Pickerill, Gavin Brown and Adam J. Barker
Department of Geography, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK 
Abstract:
The late nineteenth century saw a burgeoning of geographical writings frominfluential anarchist thinkers like Peter Kropotkin and´Elis´ee Reclus. Yet despite the vigorousintellectual debate sparked by the works of these two individuals, following their deathsanarchist ideas within geography faded. It was not until the 1970s that anarchism wasonce again given serious consideration by academic geographers who, in laying thegroundwork for what is today known as “radical geography”, attempted to reintroduceanarchism as a legitimate political philosophy. Unfortunately, quiet followed once more,and although numerous contemporary radical geographers employ a sense of theory andpracticethatsharesmanyaffinitieswithanarchism,directengagementwithanarchistideasamongacademicgeographershavebeenlimited.Ascontemporaryglobalchallengespushanarchist theory and practice back into widespread currency, geographers need to rise tothis occasion and begin (re)mapping the possibilities of what anarchist perspectives might yet contribute to the discipline.
Keywords:
anarchism, anarchist geographies, direct action, everyday life, mutual aid,radical geographyIn the late 1970s
Antipode 
published issues on the environment and anarchism which, inretrospect, were the last bursts of colour in the fall of its 1960s-style radicalism (RichardPeet and Nigel Thrift 1989:6).
The relationship between anarchism and the academic discipline of geography hasa long and disjointed history. The late nineteenth century saw a burgeoning of geographical writings from influential anarchist thinkers like Peter Kropotkin (Morris2003) and´Elis´ee Reclus (Fleming 1996). Yet in spite of the vigorous intellectualdebate sparked by the works of these two individuals, following their deaths inthe early twentieth century, anarchist ideas within geography faded. It was notuntil the 1970s that anarchism was once again given serious consideration byacademic geographers who, in laying the groundwork for what is today known as“radical geography”, attempted to reintroduce anarchism as a legitimate politicalphilosophy. Unfortunately, quiet followed once more, and although numerouscontemporaryradical geographersemployasenseoftheoryandpracticethatshares
Antipode 
Vol. 00 No. 0 2012 ISSN 0066-4812, pp 1–14 doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8330.2012.01038.x
C
2012 The Authors.
Antipode 
C
2012 Antipode Foundation Ltd.
 
2
Antipode
many affinities with anarchism, direct engagement with anarchist ideas amonggeographers have been limited and largely overshadowed by the popularity of Marxist, feminist, and more recently poststructuralist critiques. This special issueproceeds from the perspective that as contemporary global challenges—such asthe most recent financial crisis and the ensuing Occupy Movement—push anarchisttheory and practice back into widespread currency, geographers need to rise tothis occasion and begin (re)mapping the possibilities of what anarchist perspectivesmight yet contribute to the discipline. In this light, we have sought to developan exploratory volume, where explicitly and unashamedly anarchist approachesto human geography can be allowed to blossom in all their wonderful plurality. Accommodatingadiversityofpositionalitiesdemandsanunconstrainedandeclecticembrace, and accordingly we understand the potentialities of anarchist praxis asprotean and manifold. Through the unfolding and variegated approach that thisspecial issue maintains, we seek to expose readers to a variety of epistemological,ontological, and methodological interpretations of anarchism, unencumbered bythe strict disciplining frameworks that characterize other political philosophies, andpurposefully open to contradiction and critique.The world we inhabit has changed significantly since 1978 when the last
Antipode 
special issue on anarchism was published (see Breitbart 1978b). To suggest thathuman societies have undergone intense social, economic, cultural, and politicaltransformations in the interim is a profound understatement. The emergence of neoliberal ideology and its consolidation as the dominant economic system hasradically reshaped the globe, intensifying already existing uneven geographiesand resulting in a new level of complexity as established political structures,modes of governmentality, identity categories, economic matrixes, subjectivities,institutional frameworks, juridical processes, and epistemological positions are allbeing remade. The apparent victory of laissez-faire neoliberalism and the fall of theSoviet Union in the early 1990s shattered the assumed centrality of the state inthe practice of political economy and governance, yet it also gave succor to newand sometimes terrifying modes of state control. Likewise, whereas the cheerleadersof capitalism’s apparent victory over so-called communism initially declared theend of history (Fukuyama 1992), we have instead seen capitalism morph and flexover the years, creating new and unforeseen constellations of exploitation andstruggle. Despite such acute political economic and sociocultural transformations,the possibilities that anarchist geographies might hold for geographical scholarshipand broader strategies of political action are, to us, as relevant and potent asever. The selective memories of humanity’s past, the impoverished dialogues of thepresent, and the static visions of a supposedly predetermined future that pervadeboth academic and popular discourses are a testament to the paucity of thepolitical imagination in the current conjuncture. While neoliberal apostles of the post-political consensus imagine that our world is best served by theachievement of an integrated global village (M. Friedman 2002 [1962]; T.Friedman 1999; Hayek 2001 [1944]), and geographers have responded with avariety of critiques (Brenner and Theodore 2003; Castree et al 2010; Englandand Ward 2007; Gibson-Graham 1996; Hart 2008; Harvey 2005; Peck 2010;Smith, Stenning and Willis 2008; Springer 2010; Swyngedouw 2011), we are
C
2012 The Authors.
Antipode 
C
2012 Antipode Foundation Ltd.
 
Reanimating Anarchist Geographies
3
left with a sense of disappointment that our discipline, as of late, has not beeneven
more 
radical in its response. While it is true that most critical geographersare willing to go further than simply repackaging neoliberalism with a smiling face, much of the socialist left appears bereft of ideas beyond a state-regulatedcapitalism.Social transformation is, of course, necessarily a spatial project, and a spatialdimension to the effective critique of existing structures is an important element of imagining and forging spaces for new ones. Accordingly, we remain deeply cynicalof those ostensibly “radical” views that leave the prescriptions and authority of thestate firmly intact. Without appreciating the infinite possibilities that actually existif we only had the collective courage and freedom to explore them, we are leftwith an all too limited vision of the geographical horizons of human organization. We must similarly remain attentive to the idea that adaptations and abuses of statepower are intrinsic not only to neoliberalism and capitalism more generally (Peck2001), but also to Marxism in its traditional sense. In the face of the sheer enormityof the bloodshed that came with communist projects in the former Soviet Union,Maoist China, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and the conflict, othering, and violence thatis facilitated by a Westphalian system of sovereign rule, we long for and are activelycommitted to procuring alternative socio-spatial arrangements wherein people areliberatedfromallformsofdominationandarefreetocollectivelymakeofthemselveswhattheywill.WhilewearekeentocritiqueMarxist-Leninisminallitsvariousguises,we acknowledge that there are heterodox Marxists working with more autonomistand libertarian ideas that share similar concerns and are far less antithetical toanarchistapproaches.Atthesametime,werecognizethatitisincorrecttosuggest—as post-left anarchists like Fredy Perlman (1983) have argued—that if we simplychoose to act differently then society will magically transform into a post-capitalist,post-statist world. Anarchist thinkers have long interrogated complex matrices of control and surveillance, highlighting the ways in which the agents of state andcapital converge to produce powerful regimes of containment or straightforwardobliterationoftheirpoliticalopponents(Graham2005,2009;Gu´erin2005;Marshall1992;Woodcock2004).Indeed,DanielGu´erin’s(2010[1936])carefultracingofthesynergies between the rise of European fascism in the 1930s and the organizationaland disciplinary logic of the capitalist state can be read as a powerful warning fromhistory in the current context of recession, unrest, and the re-emergence of the far right.Thus, anarchist approaches to understanding and acting in society operate ina tension between an assertion of peoples’ agency to collectively self-managetheir affairs on the one hand, and the everyday matrices of power that constrainautonomy, solidarity and equality on the other. However, anarchism is also aphilosophy that is healthily sceptical of analysis for its own sake, and combinesits powerful critique of capital and authority with a creative and decentralizedmode of praxis. So while we recognize the importance of utopian thought, weare not content to dwell exclusively in the realm of ideas, and advocate for theimportance of direct action in changing for the better the material conditions of our own lives as well as the lives of others (Graeber 2009). Notwithstanding thenow-clich´ed refrain that anarchists were at the creative centre of the movements
C
2012 The Authors.
Antipode 
C
2012 Antipode Foundation Ltd.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->