The Historical Roots of Democratic Politics: Anarchism

Todd May

in The Political Thought of Jacques Rancière

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780748635320
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671922 | DOI:
The Historical Roots of Democratic Politics: Anarchism

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This chapter demonstrates how anarchism anticipates the thought of active equality and how the concept of equality as it is elaborated clarifies difficulties in anarchist thought. It also argues that it is equality rather than liberty that should be the founding principle of a collectivist anarchism. The concept of exploitation secures Karl Marx's economic analysis. Peter Kropotkin's definition of anarchism is then addressed. The resources of Rancière's become relevant for a re-reading and renewing of the anarchist tradition. Liberty is conceived in terms of equality. Anarchism has been the most dogged proponent of a democratic politics that the West has witnessed. Democratic politics of Rancière keeps a certain distance from anarchism. Anarchism establishes a historical trajectory out of which the thought and practice of a democratic politics should be read.

Keywords: anarchism; active equality; liberty; Karl Marx; Peter Kropotkin; Rancière; democratic politics

Chapter.  10503 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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