Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wikipedia: Issues in anarchism

Issues in anarchism

Anarchist schools of thought encompass not only a range of individual schools, but also a considerable divergence in the use of some key terms. Some terms, such as "socialism", have been subject to multiple definitions and ideological struggle throughout the period of the development of anarchism. Others, such as "capitalism" are used in divergent, and often contradictory, ways by different schools within the tradition. In addition, terms such as "mutualism" have changed their meanings over time, without spawning new schools. All of these terminological difficulties contribute to misunderstandings within and about anarchism.

A central concern is whether the term "anarchism" is defined in opposition to hierarchy, authority or the state. Debates over the meaning of the term emerge from the fact that it refers to both an abstract philosophical position and to intellectual, political and institutional traditions, all of which have been fraught with conflict. Some minimal, abstract definitions encourage the inclusion of figures, movements and philosophical positions which have historically positioned themselves outside, or even in opposition to, individuals and traditions that have identified themselves as "anarchist."

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