London: Athlone Press. Most anarchists tend to think humans have both good and bad tendencies. Thus, concepts that seemed to fit only foragers’ bands—sharing, immediacy, anarchy, etc.—and just the lowest stage of the evolutionary model proposed in the sixties and seventies, were found relevant not only for nomadic foragers, but for other social formations as well. The Spanish Anarchist Movement (1868–1939) was one of the most novel social movements of its era. At least three traits defining complexity are present: first, a sociality based on personal ties and therefore complicated psychological requirements; second, a great number of possible arrangements; and third, randomness in the result of these arrangements. Marilyn Strathern remarked that English persons saw each other as “parts of a whole” (quoted in Bird-David 1994: 597), but for the Nayaka of Southern India, persons are seen as wholes and coalesce with each other, as in the ritual metaphor of drops of oil coalescing with each other (id.). It is, in fact, the first anarchist tract. Equality is constructed, an active process enforced by various means and by constant effort. Clastres, Pierre. Anarchism. Still less, that we should try to emulate them. An Anthropological Investigation of Suicide in the Southern He calls a spade a spade, and puts anarchy and anarchies squarely at the center of a discussion on societies that many authors have refused to call so, instead calling them acephalous, democratic, egalitarian, etc. 2005. Although they also hunt and collect wild products from the forest, the 45,000 Palawan people invest the greater part of their time and effort in upland dry rice and tuber agriculture. Gifts entail a debt that creates inequality. et sous la Renaissance. A consistent critique of anarchism offered by Marxists is that it is utopian and romantic, a peasant or petty-bourgeois ideology, or an expression of millennial dreams. Oxford got to him. Pre-Capitalist Modes of Production (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975). Conflict Resolution and Coalescence needs time, accumulation of knowledge, growth, multiple and repetitive interaction. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthopology. This is why sharing, even if it is not the only way people allocate resources, is a moral dimension of equality and a requirement in maintaining a state of anarchy.[10]. Anarchism. But if aggregates are not permanent, they recreate themselves constantly and the general result in this constant shift of individual units between aggregates is the stability of the whole. See more. The invention of corporations to which one pledges one’s loyalty is central in our social, political, economic, and moral life, but it remains—in my view—an anthropological puzzle. On the one hand it can be seen as a kind of “river,” as Peter Marshall describes it in his excellent history of anarchism. Buid of Mindoro. “The Economic and Social Basis of Primitive Bands.” In Essays in Theodore Roosevelt, the American president, described anarchism as a “crime against the whole human race”—and it has been variously judged as destructive, violent and nihilistic. They live in small, dispersed settlements or hamlets, defined with appropriate vagueness as “neighborhoods,” and are heavily committed to an egalitarian and peaceful way of life. Many anarchists believe that such a society is possible, though technology will have to be on a “human scale.” Complex systems exist in nature without there being any controlling mechanism. 1992. People of the Rainbow. Removing a dangerous individual—a hazard to his community—was apparently not done to set an example or create a deterrent. [7] I have tried to explain and illustrate this concept in another unpublished paper This being so, some form of coercive authority is always necessary. _____. If evolutionary sociologists are correct (Maryanski 1994), humanoid sociality, going back to the Last Common Ancestor of apes and humans, evidenced a “fluid organizational structure, consisting of a low level of sociality and a lack of intergenerational group continuity over time” (Maryanski 1994: 384). The Harmless People. Communities were necessarily small, based on personal, multi-stranded relations. State (Oxford: Blackwell, 1977). 2008 a) The Gift without a Donor. Anarchy being on the side of the primeval and the primitive, any attempt at its sublimation smacks of anarchism and must be seen as utopian or regressive. “L’amitié dans le vocabulaire, les institutions et la literature orale des. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 2008 b) Joyous, Equal and Free. Hann, ed. A number of criticisms have been lodged against anarchism, and I will deal briefly with eight. It is often the other way around: kinship ties are a way to institutionalize friendship (Macdonald 1999). In any case, anarchism is an interesting blend of notions for a social anthropologist, especially for a social anthropologist who has observed at close quarters and for a long period of time an anarchic society. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology David Graeber (2004) Most academics seem to have only the vaguest idea what anarchism is even about; or dismiss it with the crudest stereotypes. 2004. The term anarchy comes from the Greek, and essentially means “no ruler.” Anarchists are people who reject all forms of government or coercive authority, all forms of hierarchy and domination. “On the Sociology of Primitive Exchange.” In The Relevance Anarchists have established real collectives, and have always been critical of religion. Stauder, Jack. 2008 b) Overwhelming Terror. 1985. Indeed, Evans- Pritchard, in his classic study of The Nuer (1940), described their political system as “ordered anarchy.” Harold Barclay’s useful and perceptive little book People without government (1992) is significantly subtitled “The Anthropology of Anarchism,” and Barclay makes the familiar distinction between anarchy, which is an ordered society without government, and anarchism, which is a political movement and tradition that became articulated during the 19th century. Other studies in the same general area, particularly R. Dentan’s study of the Semai—equally an horticulturalist people— (Dentan 1968, 1992) were starting to form a body of knowledge supporting the view that the anarchic ethos of hunters-gatherers was at work in groups characterized by what Woodburn called delayed-return economies. There are individualistic, communist and collectivist variants of anarchism. In other words, aggregates are more energy than matter. They see these as simply “problems” that need to be overcome—not as intrinsically related to capitalism itself. It is to society what an engine is to an automobile. Anarchy means not chaos, or a lack of organisation, but a society based on the autonomy of the individual, on co-operation, one without rulers or coercive authority. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. A Nomadic Utopia. The most obvious introduction to a study of anarchy in anthropology would be to go over the many studies that dealt with the problem of political order in stateless or acephalous societies. The poverty, famine, sickening social inequalities, political repression and ecological degradation that is generated under capitalism is always underplayed by apologists like Scruton and Fukuyama. But at least Miller wants to rescue anarchism from the dustbin of history—to help us to curb abuses of power, and to keep alive the possibilities of free social relationships. This primeval state has been mainly defined as post-edenic and evil, overwhelmingly Hobbesian rather than “Anarchism: a Bibiography of Articles, 1900–1975.” Political within relatively small aggregates. The process of consensus-building through long discussions is also very much of the essence. Philippines. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 28(2):153–168. In this sense, structure and anti-structure cannot be separated and are part of the same totality. People were interested in peace, not in justice. 1999. London and New York: Routledge. Two topics in his more recent studies concern suicide and personal names. Berkeley: University of California Press. Macdonald, Charles J-H. 1977. Such communities have a strong psychological dimension and are, by nature, extremely volatile; their composition is in a constant state of flux. Radcliffe-Brown was an anarchist in his early years. Given this advocacy of “primitivism,” it is hardly surprising that Zerzan (1988, 1994) draws on anthropological data to validate his claims, and to portray hunter-gatherers as egalitarian, authentic, and as the “most successful and enduring adaptation ever achieved by humankind” (1988, p.66). Clastres, P. Society Against the. The market socialist David Miller expresses this view very well in his book on Anarchism (1984). The future we are told is “primitive.” How this is to be achieved in a world that presently sustains almost six billion people (for evidence suggests that the hunter-gather lifestyle is only able to support 1 or 2 people per sq. They were eventually isolated and/or killed (Hippler 1974). Anarchists, according to the ex-doyen of the Green Party in Britain, Jonathan Porritt, do nothing but contemplate their navels. Cambridge, London, New York: From hominoid evolutionary prehistory, chances are that several diverging forms of adaptation survived and still exist side-by-side. G. Ravis-Giordani, ed. The communities I have in mind are stateless societies characterized by egalitarian behavior devoid of status competition, mainly foragers and horticulturalists, who generally lead a peaceful and ordered life. I will critically examine their truth in the rest of my presentation. Hindness, B. The crisis in hunter-gatherer studies.” Re-enchanting Humanity (London: Cassell, 1995). 1972. Community and Association (Gemeinshaft und Gesellshaft). It is necessary that a majority, but not all, members of a community hold such values and act accordingly. A Very Short Introduction. ). 3. But this did not entail the repudiation of individual self-assertion, and, unlike many contemporary anthropologists, Kropotkin made a distinction between individuality and self-affirmation, and individualism. 219+4 sentence examples: 1. The benefits of that for a far-roaming animal like Homo, are several. Anarchy has two meanings, one is “disorder” or “chaos”; the other follows from its etymology “without a chief or leader.” “The condition of society in which there is no ruler” (Barclay 1982: 13) is the definition I am using when I employ the word “anarchy.” When I speak of an anarchic organization, I refer to a situation where rules of conduct are not enforced by any government apparatus, not even by leaders, a situation with minimal status hierarchy or no political power. What small anarchic communities did not have, and what possibly changed the future of human sociality, was the invention of corporation and strong personal ties based on dependence. He has been a Visiting Research Associate at the Universities of Oxford (St Antony’s College), Kyoto (Center for Southeast Asian Studies — CSEAS), Leiden (International Institute for Asian Studies-IIAS), Manila (IPC, Ateneo de Manila), and Singapore (Asian Research Institute-ARI). Ingold, Tim. London: Berg. New York: Holt, Property-sharing in Immediate-return Hunter-gatherer Societies.” In Property Relations. Charles Macdonald is a social and cultural anthropologist. of Models for Social Anthropology. 1997. Press, 1986). But in an important sense anthropology is the social science discipline that has put a focal emphasis on those kinds of societies that have been seen as exemplars of anarchy, a society without a state. [3] This field has yielded a number of important studies in recent years (Howell and Willis 1989, Sponsel and Gregor 1994, Kemp and Fry 2004), the latest and most comprehensive to date being Fry’s The Human Potential for Peace, 2006 (see also Dentan 2008 a) and b). _____. Gibson, Thomas. This is, in essence, an unequal relation: A, the creditor, is superior to B, the agent incurring the debt. Press. Without calling itself “anarchist,” a topicality has been present in anthropological discourse that could begin to point in the direction of anarchist thinking. While radical ecologists glorify the golden age of peasant agriculture, Zerzan follows the likes of Van Der Post in extolling hunter-gatherer existence—with a selective culling of the anthropological literature. More recent research has shown, however, that sharing is based on a different principle: it is a division of an object, commodity or good, between persons or groups, without anyone being seen as giver and no one being in a position of incurring a debt. I distinguish anarchic from acephalous. Anarchy, it is believed, is a synonym for chaos and disorder. They were mostly imagining such a society, as the few historical examples, like the Swiss confederacy observed by Kropotkin, for instance (Ward 2004: 86), or the medieval city commune, could not provide sufficient empirical ground to test their ideas. [11] Wrangham—quoted in Boehm 1993: 238—reached different conclusions in a previous reconstruction from humans and African apes. But most anarchists have been against violence and terrorism, and there has always been a strong link between anarchism and pacifism. In Exciting and Expanding These have included intentional communities founded by anarchists as social experiments and community oriented projects, such as collective organizations and cooperative businesses. In an important sense anarchists support the rallying cry of the French revolution: liberty, equality and fraternity—and strongly believe that these values are inter-dependent. Actually, before reading Ingold’s contribution, I had reached the same conclusion myself, namely that the group I had studied, the Palawan people, could hardly be called a “society,” in the sense of having a “social structure.” It looked to me more like a collection of individuals and domestic families in perpetual motion. In a sense, however, I will not completely reject the other meaning of the word, “chaos” or “disorder”; I will show that a state of anarchy implies immanence, randomness, unpredictability and complexity, all concepts that dwell uneasily in a standard notion of what an ordered society is or ought to be. 2007. And Hirst, P.Q. It may be that an anthropology of anarchy is an anarchist anthropology, or will fuel an anarchist project, but I am not sure of that. In the nineteenth century, thinkers like Proudhon or Bakunin were trying to construct a theory of society without government, without a state, based on individual freedom, mutualism or collectivism, and federalism. Anarchism and the Mexican Working Class 1860–1931 (Austin: Univ of Texas, 1978). “African Apes: The Significance of African Apes for The Forest People. British anthropologists have less connection with anarchism, but it is worth noting that one of the so-called “fathers” of British anthropology, A.R. Pepper, D. Modem Environmentalism (London: Routledge, 1996). Select individual parts for the bookbuilder. Equally amazing is that one Marxist text, specifically on Pre-Capitalist Modes of Production (Hindness and Hirst, 1975), not only suggested that the “objects” of theoretical discourses did not exist—and so rejected history as a worthwhile subject of study, but completely bypassed anthropological knowledge. Norms were not enforced, or at least not negatively enforced by punishment. Yet anarchists go one step further: they challenge the violence that most people do not recognize and which is often of the worst possible kind; this is lawful violence. [3] I will base the following considerations on Dentan’s paper (in press). 1994. It is the combination of personal autonomy and relative adherence to a system of values that ensure continuous operation of the system. Social anthropology is one of the social sciences. Renewing the Anthropological Ttradition. In spite of the drawbacks and thinness of his writings (Clastres met a premature death in a car accident in 1977), he correctly saw in primitive economies a principle of non-reciprocity and, in chiefly positions, roles without power. I am not sure that there were anthropological seeds for the blooming of a potential anarchist anthropology in early and influential works by Marcel Mauss, especially his essay on the gift (Mauss 1925), arguing that human society was built on gift economies and “prestations totales.” Mauss had his doubts, also, on the role of the state, but his leanings were towards socialism and not anarchism. Whether we look at the Semai, Palawan, Buid, Caribou Inuit, Hazda, Nayaka, Piaroa, or many others, we find a certain kind of attitude, or rather an array of attitudes and values, as particularly salient. Maryanski, A. What constituted the basic fabric of archaic society, according to Clastres, was exchange, coercive power, in essence, being a negation of reciprocity. Ward, Colin. It is thus noteworthy that James Clifford and George Marcus (1986) in what many have regarded as the founding text of literary or post-modern anthropology, are not only rather dismissive of feminist anthropology, but ignore entirely the ethnographic studies of non-”Western” scholars—Srinivas, Kenyatta, Fei and Aiyappan. “On the Social Relations of Hunter-Gatherer Band.” In The they are, but of course their complexity is not what we use to mean when we speak of large modern urban societies. Possibilities. Hutterites), intentional enclaved and occasional communities (e.g., the Rainbow Family—see Niman 1997), political parties or institutions (e.g., the International Anarchist Congress), social movements whether insurrectional as in Spain in the years 1930 to 1936, or pacifist and religious movements not necessarily under the banner of anarchism proper, but having in common an anti-authoritarian bend, an egalitarian and community-oriented ethos. But anarchism is generally not simply a negative stance on authority but also a positive stance about how society should be structured. Perspective.” American Anthropologist 1(3):449–469. Inuits said famously “with gifts one makes slaves” (Freuchen 1976). [1] Such as this quote: “to ignore the incredibly complex play of perspectives, passions, insights, desires, and mutual understandings that human life is really made of, is to make a rule and threaten anyone who breaks it” (72–3). 1962. A. Kehoe and P. Doughty, eds. Bird-David, Nurit. [10] See Macdonald 2008 a) for a full development of this argument. There are numerous instances in which a community organizes itself along philosophically anarchist lines to promote regional anarchist movements, counter-economics and countercultures. (Macdonald 2008 b). Zerzan presents an apocalyptic, even a gnostic vision. A final criticism of anarchism is that it is unrealistic; anarchy will never work. “The Rise, Maintenance, and Destruction of Peaceable Polity: A The latter’s work was significantly entitled: The Guillotine at Work (1940). The gist of it is that reciprocity and sharing are two different things, and entail distinct relations between participants. [2] Reviewers dispensed scathing criticism (Aya 2006: 591), but anarchist ideas no matter how mildly and scholarly put, seem to always irritate and tend to be impatiently dismissed. While Members are drawn from specific disciplines of the social sciences—anthropology, economics, sociology and political science—as well as history, philosophy, literature and law, the School encourages new approaches that arise from exposure to different forms of interpretation. As Paul Goodman wrote: “...the issue is not whether people are ‘good enough’ for a particular type of society; rather it is a matter of developing the kind of social institutions that are most conducive to expanding the potentialities we have for intelligence, grace, sociability and freedom.”. They can “persuade but not command” in the words of Lee and Daly (1999: 4). Preliminary Essay in Political Ecology.” In Aggression and Peacefulness in Humans and Other Primates. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology is one of a series of pamphlets published by Prickly Paradigm Press in Chicago. This is a rather biased and inaccurate portrait of anthropology, for the discipline has a long tradition of “anthropology at home,” and many important anthropological studies have their location in India, China and Japan. It looks strange, a gift without a donor, something like the zen koan of one hand clapping, but it is actually something that has an empirical basis. Aix-en-Provence: Publications de l’Université de Provence. The idea is that people who see eye-to-eye, people who share the same values, stay together; those who do not, just go somewhere else. R.H. Lowie, ed. More recently, the work of David Graeber has spurred an interest in what an anarchist anthropology could be. Sacrifice and Sharing in the Philippine Highlands: Religion and Society among the But as Alexander Berkman wrote: the resort to violence against oppression or to obtain certain political objectives has been practiced throughout human history. An Anthropological Challenge to Paris: Albin Michel. But when one examines the writings of classical anarchists like Kropotkin, Goldman, Malatesta and Tolstoy, as well as the character of anarchist movements in such places as Italy, Mexico, Spain and France, it is clearly evident that it has never had this limited vision. All these requirements create conditions of felicity and permit bonding or, as I will explain below, a richness of weak ties. For example, large animals caught by hunters–Hazda or Inuits— are declared to be gifts of nature and must be shared, often by someone who is not the hunter. Persons relate to each other not as personas in the capacity of role- or status-holders, but as immanent beings in the world, complete in themselves, not parts of any totality from which they would derive their mutual significance. It has also a lot to do with sharing in the sense I will give to this word. Bottomore, T. (Ed) A Dictionary ofMarxist Thought (Oxford: Blackwell, 1983). 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