Theories of Resistance: Anarchism, Geography, and the Spirit of Revolt.

Author:Runkel, Simon
Position:Book review

Marcelo Lopes de Souza, Richard J. White and Simon Springer (eds), Theories of Resistance: Anarchism, Geography, and the Spirit of Revolt

London/New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016; 270pp; ISBN 9781783486670

The discipline of geography has witnessed a renaissance of anarchist theorising in recent years. The new heyday is demonstrated by a flood of publications. The trilogy Anarchism, Geography, and the Spirit of Revolt, edited by Marcelo Lopes de Souza, Richard J. White and Simon Springer, is an excellent compilation of cutting-edge inspirations for anarchism coming out of mainly geographical thought. Of course, classic anarchists like Elisee Reclus and Peter Kropotkin are important points of reference for this re-emerging strand of radical geography. Nonetheless, the contributing authors are not confined to the discipline of geography, meaning the chapters are of major importance for current anarchist studies in general. However, geography serves as an important hub for critical manoeuvres into the theoretical and practical zones of spatial thought and action on power, governance, anti-colonialism and politics.

Theories of Resistance is one of the titles in the trilogy. The ten chapters provide interdisciplinary viewpoints on theorising the nexus between anarchism and space. The editors make clear that the goal of the book is to connect reflection and action: '"Theory" is something politically crucial, provided it is intimately connected with practice in the context of praxis' (p7). The introduction is quite apologetic in that sense, hoping to avoid falling prey to an overly academic debate of anarchist concepts. Interestingly, there is a quite useful debate on the cultural context of the term 'libertarian' in Chapter One '"Libertarian", Libertaire, Libertario... : Conceptual Construction and Cultural Diversity (and Vice Versa)' and with more context in Chapter Six, '"Feuding Brothers"?: Left-Libertarians, Marxists and Socio-Spatial Research at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century'. On first glance this discussion led by one of the editors, Brazilian scholar Marcelo Lopes de Souza, seems to be a little redundant, but on second thought it is well-connected to a common thread of the book: what implications does the term 'anarchist' have when applied to various theoretical strands in the social sciences and, moreover, to political struggles. The last aspect is especially interesting when it comes to the discussion of decolonialising...

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