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Title: Exit the system? Anarchist organization in the British climate camps
Authors: Frenzel, Fabian
First Published: Nov-2014
Publisher: University of Leicester, University of Essex
Citation: Ephemera: theory and politics in organization, 2014 volume 14(4): 901-921
Abstract: Protest camps have proliferated in social movement practice globally in recent years. Research has started to address protest camps and this study aims to contribute to the emerging field, focusing in particular on their form of organization. Protest camps appear to resonate with social movement activists because they combine characteristics of networks like fluidity and flexibility with certain elements of organization, in particular the ability to create and pursue an alternative order. They do so, I argue, by pursuing organization in space. In this way protest camps offer practical solutions to the question of how to achieve powerful challenges to the status quo while maintaining a prefigurative politics of social change. In particular elements of organization like hierarchy, membership and rules are significantly altered when organization is pursued in space. I argue that the history of the protest camp as an organisational form is best conceived as a series of experiments with alternative, anarchist organization, where different innovative elements of organisation are invented, modified and adapted to locally specific needs. Two distinct forms of spatial organisation emerge across different camps, the creation of spatial antagonism and decentralisation. Pursing spatial antagonism and decentralisation protest camps enable ‘partial organization’, somewhere between network structures and full organization. Empirically I discuss the camp for climate action (CFCA). From 2006 to 2010 it made headlines news in the UK and beyond. The analysis of the development of CFCA from previous camps indicates the importance of the spatial antagonism to protest camp organization. If it diminishes, elements of organization like hierarchy, rules, bureaucracy became more visible, a factor that can be understood as contributing to the discontinuation of climate camps in the UK in 2011.
ISSN: 2052-1499
eISSN: 1473-2866
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright the author 2014. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

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