CfP: ESSHC 2018 - Anarchism and Republicanism

Call for papers, deadline 31 March 2017

Call for Papers
European Social Science History Conference
Belfast, 4-7 April, 2018


In the history of ideas anarchism has often been analysed as a form of socialism, more or less divergent from Marxism (Joll, Guérin, Thomas, Schmitt & van der Walt). This construction of anarchism's history has profoundly shaped the conceptualisation of anarchist ideas. For example, the distinctively anarchist commitment to prefigurative change is typically elaborated as a critique of Marxism, with reference to a historical disagreement about the relationship between the ends and means of revolution. The relationship of anarchism to republicanism has received far less scholarly attention, even though the critical interchange between leading figures active in these nineteenth-century movements has been well documented (Levy, Prichard), and republican tropes were adopted widely by socialists in the nineteenth century. By invoking the charge of Jacobinism against Marxists, anarchists indicated that their concerns about the potential corruption of the social revolution was as much influenced by the historical experience of republicanism as it was by the analysis of historical materialism.

The aims of this panel are to consider the relationship of anarchism to republicanism, recognising the fluidity of the movements that these terms describe. We are interested in discovering

(i) how anarchists understood the distinctiveness of their own principles in relation to republican theory and practice,

(ii) how far anarchist critique of republicanism contributed to the development of specifically anarchist forms of socialism,

(iii) how the emergence of anarchist movements affected republicans in different local contexts, and

(iv) how far this historical revision of anarchism helps develop or hone conceptual tools useful for contemporary anarchist theory.

We welcome analysis of political ideas and concepts (lese majesty, patriotism, the citizen, public virtue, chauvinism), studies of republican models in anarchist and syndicalist federalism (classical, modern, French, American, Swiss) and discussions of movement campaigning (for free speech, against 'free' labour, anti-militarism, anti-colonialism). We particularly encourage studies of iconography and songs. We are also interested in probing how far the republican rejection of tyranny, arbitrary power and domination contributed to anarchist sociologies of the state and the rejection of representative democracy.

Please contact Ruth Kinna and Bert Altena if you’re interested in exploring any of these themes or issues relating to them.

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