Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction

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OUP Oxford, Oct 21, 2004 - Philosophy - 109 pages
The word 'anarchism' tends to conjure up images of aggressive protest against government, and - recently - of angry demonstrations against bodies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. But is anarchism inevitably linked with violent disorder? Do anarchists adhere to a coherent ideology? What exactly is anarchism? In this Very Short Introduction, Colin Ward considers anarchism from a variety of perspectives: theoretical, historical, and international, and by exploring key anarchist thinkers from Kropotkin to Chomsky. He looks critically at anarchism by evaluating key ideas within it, such as its blanket opposition to incarceration, and policy of 'no compromise' with the apparatus of political decision-making. Among the questions he ponders are: can anarchy ever function effectively as a political force? Is it more 'organized' and 'reasonable' than is currently perceived? Whatever the politics of the reader, Ward's argument ensures that anarchism will be much better understood after reading this book. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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User Review  - aront - LibraryThing

According to Wikipedia the author of this brief tome, Colin Ward, is "one of the greatest anarchist thinkers of the past half century." If so, then it is time to despair for anarchism. I have long ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LiveAndrew - LibraryThing

I wanted to re-read some anarchist texts from my youth and thought I should start with a primer. An excellent little book that introduces the history and main theories without dwelling too long on them. Read full review


1 Definitions and ancestors
2 Revolutionary moments
3 States societies and the collapse of socialism
4 Deflating nationalism and fundamentalism
5 Containing deviancy and liberating work
6 Freedom in education
7 The individualist response
8 Quiet revolutions
9 The federalist agenda
10 Green aspirations and anarchist futures
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About the author (2004)

Formerly an editor of his much-translated Anarchy in Action (Freedom Press), and from Five Leaves Books of Nottingham, Cotters and Squatters, and (with David Crouch) The Allotment: Its Landscape and Culture, as well as (with Dennis Hardy) Arcadia for All: The Legacy of a Makeshift Landscape.

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