Full Text


Christian Garland

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place World

Period 2000 - present
1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics civil disobedience, communism, ideology, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00159.x


The term “autonomism” or “autonomist” may broadly refer to a number of different theories and movements that, while in some ways disparate, can be said to share several underlying aims and principles. Autonomism assumes a perspective of critical and reflexive Marxism , emphasizing both its essentially negative and open-ended nature – as with any critical theory – and identifying its own theory and practice as anti-hierarchical, anti-capitalist , and anti-authoritarian. Similarly, while retaining the centrality of class struggle, autonomist currents maintain the need for revolt and self-emancipation by the exploited and oppressed themselves, as a self-valorizing agency, and not by a “vanguard party” or other self-declared liberator. The theory of autonomy can thus be defined as one of self-determination over the form and substance of life, both collectively and individually. Unlike orthodox Marxism, autonomous movements can also be defined as “anti-political” and indeed “anti-state,” in that they reject the traditional means of political action and the traditional goal of assuming “political power” embodied in the state-form. Autonomy, then, is not rigidly fixed in ideological terms, but rather can be defined as the power to freely determine the conditions of one's existence. Against hierarchical power, and its embodiment in the forces of market and state, autonomist practice ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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