political theory

Anarchy and the Academy

Lund University, Sweden.

Anarchism and academia have always been curious bedfellows. On the one hand, they ought to be complimentary; anarchism is the belief that societies are best organised through the autonomy of those within them, and education is as important to self-mastery as the freedom necessarily entailed by the authenticity of such mastery. Yet academia itself is often tied to the augmentation, cultivation and justification for elite power: education was historically a tool used by the clergy and the aristocracy in order to rule over the serfdom, and then once again by elite actors in order to rationalise and legitimise their worldviews in the modern era. Scientists burned at the stake, theologians massacred for their appraisal of biblical ethics, and dissidents butchered for their politics: history is often a sketchbook written in blood. But what of contemporary societies, and what of the humanities in the context of the commodification of education? What is the role of the educator, the political theorist, the philosopher, in the emancipatory project of class struggle? Continue reading

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