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About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the principle of utopianism within anarchism, focusing in particular on: (i) the use of the word ‘utopian’ by critics of anarchism to describe a philosophy that is unrealistic or unrealisable; (ii) anarchists’ view that a better (utopian) society is realisable, but that anarchism must be willingly adopted, rather than being forced on people from on high; and (iii) the importance of Kropotkin’s Fields, Factories and Workshops (1899), which describes how the decentralisation of industry and agriculture might actually work.
In this course, Professor Ruth Kinna (Loughborough University) explores the idea of anarchism. In the first five modules, we introduce five key figures in anarchist thinking: Max Stirner (1806-65), Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-65), Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876), Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921), and Emma Goldman (1869-1940). After that, we spend five modules exploring four key principles in anarchism: rejection of the state, liberty, economic freedom and utopianism. In the eleventh, twelfth and thirteen modules, we think about six different types of anarchism – individualism, collectivism, communism, egoism, social anarchism and syndicalism – before turning in the final four modules to explore seven key concepts in anarchism: power, authority, government, the state, altruism, autonomy and direct action.
Ruth Kinna is Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Loughborough University. She is a political theorist and historian of ideas with research interests in anarchism, nineteenth and early twentieth-century socialist thought, utopianism and contemporary radicalism. Her book William Morris: The Art of Socialism was published in 2000. She has since published The Beginner's Guide to Anarchism (Oneworld, 2005/2009), Kropotkin: Reviewing the Classical Anarchist Tradition (University of Edinburgh, 2016) and The Government of No One (Pelican, 2019).