For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Peter Kropotkin's Anarchist Vision of Organization"

by De Geus, Marius (2014)


Along with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Michael Bakunin and Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin laid the foundations for anarchism both as a theoretical framework and an active political movement. In this piece, De Geus discusses the various aspects of Kropotkin’s account of the ills of hierarchical organisation as well as the promise of an anarchist vision of society. The article is very much a work of its time in the sense that it connects Kropotkin’s work to some of the key management theorists of the day, most notably Stafford Beer. Beer’s organisational cybernetics (referred to in the text as ‘bio-cybernetics’) was picked up on by a number of anarchist writers in the 1960s and 70s. Colin Ward, for instance, wrote of it in his article ‘Anarchism as a Theory of Organisation’ (1966), which followed a discussion on the topic in Anarchy, the journal he edited (see Walter, 1963 and McEwan, 1963). These debates marked one of the periods where anarchism was taken most seriously as a theory of organisation. De Geus’ piece here on Kropotkin does a remarkable job of underlining the core aspects of his work that are crucial to discussing anarchism alongside critical conceptions of management and organisation.


Anarchy, Organisation Studies, Politics, Management Theory


Organisation and Management Studies, Anarchism

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