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Title "Good politics" - property, intersectionality, and the making of the anarchist self
Publication Date
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department Department of Anthropology
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher McGill University

Contemporary anarchist activists aim to manifest non-hierarchical social relations within their own social milieu, as well as topple the social hierarchies that characterize the dominant society, such as white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism: Anarchists observe the importance of "means" matching "ends" and work to bring about "a new world in the shell of the old". I argue however that anarchist activism in North America does not entirely subvert the logic of neoliberalism. Colonial property relations, bureaucratic legalism, and statistical fantasies of the sovereign state (among other linear equations) continue to inflect anarchist politics and self-making projects: the rhizome is re-territorialized.This multi-sited ethnography explores anarchist networks that cross Québec, the United States and Mexico to demonstrate how anarchist practice is mired in contradiction, especially to the extent that this practice is shaped by notions of self and property (propriety) dominant in English-speaking North America. My comparative study illustrates similarities and differences among diverse anarchist scenes, throwing into relief the particular practices of university-educated Anglo American leftists, and draws on anthropological, feminist and critical race theory to show how they have preempted the black feminist challenge of "intersectionality" by recuperating it's praxis within the logic of neoliberal self-making projects and property relations, a particular economy of value in which certain identities are foregrounded and others—especially that of class—are effectively concealed. Ultimately the anarchists are presented as a limit case: even within their "autonomous" everyday practices, the propertizing self prevails in what I call the game of "good politics" - the Bridge of all prestige games, and one which structures much contemporary critical academic scholarship as well.

Les militants anarchistes contemporains cherchent à manifester des relations sociales non hiérarchiques au sein de leur propre milieu social et à renverser les hiérarchies sociales qui caractérisent la société dominante, comme le suprémacisme blanc, le patriarcat et le capitalisme: les anarchistes observent l'importance d'une congruence entre fins et moyens et travaillent à créer «un nouveau monde dans la coquille de l'ancien». Je soutiens cependant que l'activisme anarchiste en Amérique du Nord ne subvertit pas entièrement la logique du néolibéralisme. Les relations de propriétés coloniales, le légalisme bureaucratique et les fantasmes statistiques de l'État souverain (entre autres équations linéaires) continuent à infléchir les pratiques politiques des anarchistes et leurs projets de construction de soi: le rhizome est ainsi reterritorialisé. Cette ethnographie multi-située explore les réseaux anarchistes qui traversent le Québec, les États-Unis et le Mexique pour démontrer comment la pratique anarchiste est embourbée en contradiction, surtout dans la mesure où cette pratique est influencée par des notions de soi et de propriété…

Subjects/Keywords Anthropology
Contributors Kristin Norget (Supervisor)
Language en
Rights All items in [email protected] are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
Country of Publication ca
Format application/pdf
Record ID oai:digitool.library.mcgill.ca:145299
Other Identifiers TC-QMM-145299
Repository mcgill
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2019-01-09
Grantor McGill University

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