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anarchism

The doctrine associated with Godwin, Bakunin, Proudhon, and others, that human communities can and should flourish without government. Voluntary cooperation should replace the coercive ...

anarchism

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World Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Encyclopedias
Length:
129 words

... (Gk. “no government”) Political theory that regards the abolition of the state as a prerequisite for equality and social justice. In place of government, anarchy is a social form based upon voluntary cooperation between individuals. Zeno of Citium , leader of the Stoics , is regarded as the architect of anarchism. Millenarian movements of the Reformation, such as the Anabaptists , espoused a form of anarchism. As a modern political philosophy, anarchism dates from mid-19th century, and writers such as P. J. Proudhon . Often in conflict with emerging...

anarchism

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The New Oxford Companion to Law

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Law
Length:
261 words

...Anarchism is often aligned with other forms of emancipatory politics such as feminism or socialism. However, anarchists are not exclusively associated with left‐wing political beliefs. Anarcho‐capitalism argues for a minimization of state power, but as a way of enhancing individual liberty and private property, rather than as a means of ensuring social solidarity and equality . Anarchism has not been influential in mainstream legal theory, perhaps because it is assumed that anarchism requires the abolition of law. However, anarchism is arguably...

Anarchism

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Robert Paul Wolff

The Oxford Companion to Comparative Politics

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2012
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics
Length:
736 words

...and communitarian—and each appears in three distinctive variations, which may be labeled “philosophical anarchism,” “ideal anarchism,” and “revolutionary anarchism.” Philosophical anarchism is the thesis that there is not, and cannot be, a legitimate state—a state that has the moral right to demand the obedience of its subjects or citizens—because that demand by the state violates the moral autonomy of the individual. Ideal anarchism holds that, in addition to being illegitimate, the state is suboptimal—it performs less well the tasks of...

anarchism

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A Dictionary of Sociology (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Social sciences, Sociology
Length:
673 words

...Good overviews of the theory of anarchism can be found in texts of that name by David Miller ( 1984 ) and Alan Ritter ( 1980 ). In modern times, Jean-Jacques Rousseau 's romantic claim that we are born free but then everywhere found in chains is one of the first statements of anarchism, whilst the first person to evolve a systematic theory of anarchism was the English rationalist William Godwin . During the 19th century, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (influenced in part by Godwin ) developed a theory of anarchism that provided much of the basis for...

Anarchism

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The Oxford Companion to Politics of the World (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics
Length:
725 words

...and communitarian—and each appears in three distinctively different variations, which may be labeled philosophical anarchism, ideal anarchism, and revolutionary anarchism. Philosophical anarchism is the thesis that there is not, and cannot be, a legitimate state—a state that has the moral right to demand the obedience of its subjects or citizens—because that demand by the state violates the moral autonomy of the individual. Ideal anarchism holds that, in addition to being illegitimate, the state is suboptimal—it performs less well the tasks of maintaining...

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A Dictionary of Contemporary World History (6 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2021
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
179 words

...anarchism Developed into a consistent, individualistic theory by Pierre Joseph Proudhon ( b. 1809 ; d. 1865 ), it started as a movement which rejected large-scale property and the state. Instead, anarchists supported decentralized, local/communal forms of authority, and promoted the self-help of workers. In a change of emphasis, at the turn of the century many anarchists focused on the revolutionary ideas of Bakunin to create a new social order through violent action and terrorism. This led to the assassinations of the Austrian Empress Elizabeth ( 1898 ),...

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The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
1,230 words

...A History of Anarchism (1993). Read, Herbert , The Philosophy of Anarchism (1940). ——, Education through Art (1943). ——, Anarchy and Order: Essays in Politics (1954). ——, A One-Man Manifesto and Other Writings for Freedom Press , ed. David Goodway (1994). Rooum, Donald , What is Anarchism? An Introduction (1992). Sheehan, Seán M. , Anarchism (2003). Ward, Colin , Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2004). Winstanley, Gerrard , Selected Writings , ed. Andrew Hopton (1989). Woodcock, George , Anarchism (1963). —— (ed.), ...

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A Dictionary of Philosophy (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
94 words

... The doctrine associated with Godwin , Bakunin , Proudhon , and others, that human communities can and should flourish without government. Voluntary cooperation should replace the coercive machinery of the state; government itself corrupts the natural sentiments of people. Anarchists may differ about the nature of the revolution that should destroy state power, but historically have tended to be associated with advocating violent opposition to the state. This makes them sound to be allies of the left , but the libertarian aspects of the doctrine...

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...given a revolutionary character by two Russian intellectuals, Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin, who remain major figures in the field. As these thinkers defined it, anarchism is anti-hierarchical; it holds that no single person or group of persons should have power or authority over another person or group of persons. It is often dismissed as infeasible or utopian for this reason, but anarchism nonetheless maintains a strong claim on contemporary political thinking for the way it challenges us to question the underpinnings of the delegated power structures...

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J. A. Cannon

The Oxford Companion to British History (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
History, Regional and National History
Length:
308 words

... . Though mistrust of the state and a desire for cheap and limited government is a commonplace in the British political tradition, formal anarchism has received little support. Anarchist elements have been traced in the Commonwealth period, though they were more probably collective agrarianists, and the theory developed only after the French Revolution in the 1790s. Paine declared that government was, at best, a necessary evil: ‘a great part of what is called government is mere imposition.’ Spence and Godwin went further. Spence ’s vision of the...

Anarchism

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Paula Rabinowitz

The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
634 words

... . No state, no property, no authority, absolute freedom. Simply put, this is the philosophy of anarchism, which flourished in the United States between 1870 and 1920 . Arguably the most thoroughly American of political theories and yet its most subversive, anarchism has a European pedigree. First articulated in the 1840s by French printer Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, anarchism proclaimed the freedom of the individual from the restrictions of an increasingly bureaucratic state. In the United States, this radical individualism resonated with...

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Richard T. De George

The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
1,258 words

... . In its narrower meaning anarchism is a theory of society without state rule. In its broader meaning it is a theory of society without any coercive authority in any area—government, business, industry, commerce, religion, education, the family. Although some of its advocates trace its roots back to Greek thinkers—such as the Stoics, especially Zeno ( 336–264 bc )—or to the Bible, the modern work generally recognized as presenting the first articulation and defence of anarchism is William Godwin's An Inquiry Concerning Political Justice and its...

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Carl Slevin

A Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics and International Relations (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics
Length:
875 words

... The view that society can and should be organized without a coercive state. This specialized usage of the word differs markedly from common usage, which takes anarchism as a synonym for moral and political disorder. This pejorative usage is as old as the Greek origins of the word. It was reinforced by an offshoot from mainstream anarchism that for a time carried out spectacular political assassinations, such as those of Tsar Alexander II of Russia ( 1881 ), President Carnot of France ( 1894 ), and President McKinley of the USA ( 1901 ). There is no...

Anarchism

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Richard D. Sonn

The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

... Anarchist rejection of centralized government and preference for direct democracy and voluntary associations are deeply rooted in the American historical experience. Idealization of nature as an alternative to the depravity of modern civilization runs equally deep, as in the work of Henry David Thoreau, for example. Most native-born, individualist anarchists of the nineteenth century shared the Jeffersonian preference for artisans and small farmers over an industrial economy. Some tried to supplant the state with utopian communities. Benjamin Tucker (...

Anarchism

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Richard D. Sonn

The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Political and Legal History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics, Law, History of Law
Length:
447 words

... Anarchist rejection of centralized government and preference for direct democracy and voluntary associations are deeply rooted in the American historical experience. Idealization of nature as an alternative to the depravity of modern civilization runs equally deep, as in the work of Henry David Thoreau, for example. Most native-born, individualist anarchists of the nineteenth century shared the Jeffersonian preference for artisans and small farmers over an industrial economy. Some tried to supplant the state with utopian communities. Benjamin Tucker ...

Anarchism.

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Richard D. Sonn

The Oxford Companion to United States History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
History, Regional and National History
Length:
440 words

...Anarchism. Anarchist rejection of centralized government and preference for direct democracy and voluntary associations is deeply rooted in American historical experience. Idealization of nature as an alternative to the depravity of modern civilization runs equally deep, as in the work of Henry David Thoreau , for example. Most native-born, individualist anarchists of the nineteenth century shared the Jeffersonian preference for artisans and small farmers over an industrial economy. Some tried to supplant the state with utopian communities. Benjamin Tucker ...

Anarchism

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David Goodway

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
2,945 words
Illustration(s):
1

...anarchist scholar, Max Nettlau , who described Political Justice in 1897 as “the first strictly anarchist book,” leading Kropotkin to call Godwin “the first theorist of stateless socialism, that is, anarchism,” four years later in the Russian edition of Modern Science and Anarchism . Godwin could not be identified as an anarchist until after anarchism had come into being as a social movement, which it only did from the third quarter of the nineteenth century. Moreover it also needed to be named as such, as it first was by Proudhon in 1840 in What Is...

anarchism

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A Dictionary of World History (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
History
Length:
260 words

... The belief that government and law should be abolished and society organized by voluntary means without resort to force or compulsion. The French social theorist Pierre Joseph Proudhon first expounded the theory that equality and justice should be achieved through the abolition of the state and the substitution of free agreements between individuals. Other anarchist visions of the society of the future include the economic individualism, outlined in the American writer Benjamin Tucker’s Instead of a Book ( 1893 ) and the communism envisaged by the Russian...

Anarchism

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Martha A. Ackelsberg

The Oxford Encyclopedia Women in World History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History
Length:
2,952 words
Illustration(s):
1

... . Anarchism is a theory and a practice aimed at creating a society free of hierarchy and structured relations of domination and subordination. Although the first major theorist of anarchism, William Godwin ( 1756–1836 ), published his Enquiry Concerning Political Justice in England at the end of the eighteenth century, anarchism as a social movement gained prominence only during the nineteenth century, especially in Russia, the United States, and Spain. Anarchist movements also existed, and played significant roles, in Argentina, Brazil, Chile,...

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Allan H. Simmons

Oxford Reader’s Companion To Conrad

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011
Subject:
Literature, Literary studies (19th century)
Length:
1,642 words

... . In Lord Jim , Stein famously advocates that Jim ‘immerse’ himself in ‘the destructive element’ (214). Conrad’s evident fascination with the forces that simultaneously define and destroy his individual characters made it inevitable that, at some stage, he would find subject matter in the social and political expression of these forces, anarchism . The Secret Agent ( 1907 ) is the result of this fascination, a novel whose concern is ‘a mankind always so tragically eager for self-destruction’ (‘Author’s Note’, p. ix). Conrad’s source, an actual...

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